Synesthetic artist thanks to modern technology
(not mind-altering substances)
This is a re-post of a fab article I came accross
today. It tells the story of a colour blind artist who
is now experiencing the phenomenon called
“Synesthesia”. Neil Harbisson’s experience could
be categorized as Chromosthesia. here is an brief
explanation from Wikipedia:
“Another common form of synesthesia; it is when people associate sounds with colors. For some, everyday sounds can trigger seeing/hearing colors such as doors opening, cars honking, or people talking. For others, colors are triggered when musical notes and/or keys are being played. People with synesthesia related to music may also have perfect pitch because their ability to see/hear colors aids them in identifying notes or keys. According to Richard Cytowic, sound → color synesthesia, or chromesthesia is “something like fireworks”: voice, music, and assorted environmental sounds such as clattering dishes or dog barks trigger color and firework shapes that arise, move around, and then fade when the sound ends.
Sound often changes the perceived hue, brightness, scintillation, and directional movement. Some individuals see music on a “screen” in front of their faces. Deni Simon, for whom music produces waving lines “like oscilloscope configurations – lines moving in color, often metallic with height, width and, most importantly, depth. My favorite music has lines that extend horizontally beyond the ‘screen’ area.”
Of course, in the past these mind-altering
synesthetic experciences could also be triggered
through the consumtion of narcotics. In some
cases, they have been know to create flas
hbacks or remain irreversible….Scary stuff!
Please read below the story and feel free to comment!
Colour-Blind Artist Neil Harbisson Embeds
‘Eyeborg’ in Skull to ‘Hear’ Colour
Artist Neil Harbisson and his ‘eyeborg’. (www.eyeborg.wix.com)
A colour-blind artist can now “hear” colours, after having an “eyeborg” implanted into his skull.
Neil Harbisson, 31, was born with achromatopsia, a rare condition which means he can only see in black and white.
For 10 years, the London-based artist has been using an “electronic eye”, which picks up colour frequencies and transforms them into sound.
In an effort to hear more intricate colours, he has now had the device implanted into his skull.
“This announcement is not the launch of a new product and it is not the presentation of new technology – it is the presentation of a new body part that will allow us to extend our senses in unimaginable ways,” Harbisson said.
Harbisson conceived of the idea for the device after hearing Adam Montandon give a talk about cybernetics at Dartington College in 2003.
The pair then devised the device, which comprises a camera at one end, and an audio device on the other.
Every colour recorded by the camera produces a different vibration or sound and a wi-fi connector allows him to “see” images sent from mobile phones
Last month, in a series of operations in Barcelona, Harbisson had the device implanted into his skull, giving him greater depth of perception, and tomorrow he will unveil the device.
Project spokeswoman Mariana Viada said: “There is now more distinction between the colours – it is much wider and more definite.
“But the most important new thing is that he can now connect with other devices.
“He can now not only perceive the colours that are in front of him but also colours that other people are looking at on their phones.
“Potentially, this means, that he could also communicate skull to skull with other people who have the implant, but at the moment he is the only one.
“How this will exactly work and the details will be revealed by Neil during his presentation.”
Harbisson has used the device to create the world’s first “colour opera”, in which he ordered the sounds produced by an image of Barcelona’s Palau de la Musica into a musical sequence, which singers and musicians then performed.
“But since the age of 21 instead of seeing colour I can hear colour.
“So I’ve been hearing colour all the time for eight years so I find it completely normal to hear it all the time.
“At the start it’s had to memorise the names you have for each colour and the notes but after some time all this information became a perception and I didn’t have to think about the notes and after some time this became a feeling.
“I started to have favourite colours and I started to dream in colour.
“When I stared to dream in colour is when I felt that the software and my brain had united because in my dream it was my brain creating electronic sounds it was not the software and that’s when I started to feel like a cyborg.
“It had become an extension of my senses.”