555 bugs - research Maria Komarova Oct 2019 -
During her internship in Overtoon Maria Komarova was carrying out the research “555 bugs” (October 2019 - June 2020). The aim of the research was to work with sound and visual qualities of electronics as well as to reveal their potential in a performative context. In this project Maria tried to combine approaches of a stage designer and a sound artist by interconnecting scenography and sound design.
Maria was focusing on the creation of “alternative sound sources” and exploring ways of their indirect control as independent non-amplified objects. The practical idea was to create different kinds of sound sources by use of analogue technology and elementary objects - which do not need any, or only small, adjustments. Maria has produced prototypes out of electronics and recycled material: rubbish and found objects, self-made electrical circuits and simple electronic devices such as buzzers, sirens, small vibro- and dc-motors, piezo speakers. The created objects are powered by low-current batteries and produce tiny primitive sounds: rustling, crunching, squeaking, cracking.
Through the circuit research Maria was working mainly with pwm (pulse-width modulation) and different types of bistable multivibrators. Due to the low load-current of the used electronics, the most of the circuits were finally built on 555 chip. Some of them function as oscillators and the others are used as triggers for external outputs. Using of the same circuit enables the connection between the prototypes, so aside of independent acting, they could be activated and influenced by each other.
The technical aspect of the work defined the visual one. All the used elements served as tools for achieving the main practical goal - the production of sound. Guided by the DIY principle, Maria preferred readily available material and aimed to create purely functional objects. Placed in a space altogether, those sound sources formed a two layered scenography: visual and acoustic. By the term 'scenography' is understood creation of a place and its atmosphere through all possible perceptible components. Thus, sound and visual aspects in ‘555 bugs project’ became inseparable from each other.
The idea of the project 555 bugs was partly inspired by the work of Rie Nakajima and Pierre Berthet - “Dead plants and living objects”.