The Audiovisual Environment Suite (AVES) is a set of five interactive systems which allow people to create and perform abstract animation and synthetic sound in real time. Each environment is an experimental attempt to design an interface which is supple and easy to learn, yet can also yield interesting, infinitely variable and personally expressive performances in both the visual and aural domains. Ideally, these systems permit their interactants to engage in a flow state of pure experience.
The AVES systems are built around the metaphor of an inexhaustible and dynamic audiovisual "substance," which is freely deposited and controlled by the user's gestures. Each instrument situates this substance in a context whose free-form structure inherits from the visual language of abstract painting and animation. The use of low-level synthesis techniques permits the sound and image to be tightly linked, commensurately malleable, and deeply plastic.
The AVES systems inhabit a domain at the juncture of art, design, and the engineering of tools and instruments. As artworks, they extend an established Twentieth century tradition in which artworks are themselves generative systems for other media. As a set of tools, the AVES work represents a vision for creative endeavor on the computer, in which uniquely ephemeral dynamic media blossom from a close collaboration between a system's user and designer.