Modular Audiovisual Performance Systems (MAPS) 

Modular Audiovisual Performance Systems (MAPS) is a collaborative work by John R. Ferguson and Nicole L. Carroll. A growing range of tessellating boxes evolve along a surface; some produce electronic sound directly via the infamous 40106 CMOS chip, others function as custom controllers with knobs, buttons, and accelerometers connected to Ableton, Max and Touch Designer software to create a unique audiovisual system that is both “hands-on” and modular.

The boxes are performed utilizing the physical controls and sensors as well as through placement of the boxes in proximity to others. The act of considered placement adds a performative dimension to the system, as the gestures manipulate ambient and direct light to affect sonic textures and rhythmic patterns. The boxes may function as controllers and receivers simultaneously, creating a data, visual, and auditory feedback system. Each sound-producing box has a unique circuitry, sensor configuration, and control interface to maximize the potential from the 40106 CMOS chip, the “hex Schmitt trigger.” While several of the boxes produce the raw timbres associated with the harsh square wave output of the 40106, the system collectively creates a sonic world that encompasses noise, pop, and acousmatic genres to produce a range of tonalities and textures. The sonic output is ultimately controlled by custom real-time processing in Max and drum programming in Ableton.

The accompanying visuals created through Touch Designer augment the performance system. The projected visuals integrate live camera feed and sound-reactive visual motives based on the tessellating patterns of the box structures. The projected visuals then produce rhythmic ambient light to control the light-controlled boxes, thus completing the audiovisual feedback system.