Pre-thinking:

Before you watch, imagine what it would be like to live in a world without color. Jot down a few words to describe your thoughts about it. As you watch, see how Neil Harbisson describes it from his experience.

Why you should listen:

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 Colors project, he expresses the capital cities of Europe in two colors (Monaco is azure and salmon pink; Bratislava yellow and turquoise).

Who is he:

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.

Questions:

  1. It seems that he was able to memorize the sound-color association fairly quickly; what factors may be at play to facilitate this?
  1. What was the significance of him starting to dream in color?
  1. Imagine that one is color blind, what difficulties in living would that present?
  1. Imagine that one is color blind, what advantages or opportunities might that present?
  1. Find other examples of Cyborg (machine-human) interaction and write a report and share it with someone.

I listen to color with Neil Harbisson

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