Does listening to music generate colors in your mind? Do bright, lively songs sound yellow or orange while darker, more somber ones sound dark blue and grey? Well, for artist Neil Harbisson, this happens the other way around. Colorblind since birth, Harbisson has sported an electronic eye since 2004 that fits over the top of […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
Born with the inability to see color, Neil Harbisson wears a prosthetic device — he calls it an "eyeborg" — that allows him to hear the spectrum, even those colors beyond the range of human sight. His unique experience of color informs his artwork — which, until he met cyberneticist Adam Montandon at a college lecture, was strictly black-and-white. By working with Montandon, and later with Peter Kese, Harbisson helped design a lightweight eyepiece that he wears on his forehead that transposes the light frequencies of color hues into sound frequencies.
Harbisson's artwork blurs the boundaries between sight and sound. In his Sound Portraits series, he listens to the colors of faces to create a microtonal chord. In the City Colours project, he expresses the capital cities of Europe in two colors (Monaco is azure and salmon pink; Bratislava yellow and turquoise).
What others say
“Conclusively, this project exists not in the software, or domain of so called 'virtual' reality, but in the reality of Neil’s perception of the world, unveiling, quite literally, an invisible architecture of energy.” — Adam Montandon
Neil Harbisson’s TED talks
Colorblind artist Neil Harbisson is an intrepid “eyeborg” wearer. That’s a device that converts color into audible frequencies, meaning that Harbisson gets to hear a symphony of color, instead of seeing a world only in grayscale. Below, Harbisson’s talk from TEDGlobal 2012 gets the graphic treatment in a beautiful chart that shows precisely which colors sound which musical notes for him. This is […]Continue reading
“I feel like a cyborg,” Neil Harbisson declares in a fascinating talk from TEDGlobal 2012. Born color-blind, Harbisson lived in a “grayscale world,” he says — until 2003, when he began working with computer scientist Adam Montandon on an electronic eye that renders color as sound. Always attached to him, the appliance allows Harbisson to […]Continue reading