Performativity · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Neil Harbisson: The man who hears colour

Artist Neil Harbisson is completely colour-blind. Here, he explains how a camera attached to his head allows him to hear colour.

Until I was 11, I didn’t know I could only see in shades of grey. I thought I could see colours but that I was confusing them.

When I was diagnosed with achromatopsia [a rare vision disorder], it was a bit of a shock but at least we knew what was wrong. Doctors said it was impossible to cure.

When I was 16, I decided to study art. I told my tutor I could only see in black and white, and his first reaction was, “What the hell are you doing here then?” I told him I really wanted to understand what colour was.

I was allowed to do the entire art course in greyscale – only using black and white. I did very figurative art, trying to reproduce what I could see so that people could compare how my vision was to what they saw. I also learned that through history, there have been many people who have related colour to sound.

At university I went to a cybernetics lecture by Adam Montandon, a student from Plymouth University, and asked if we could create something so I could see colour. He came up with a simple device, made up of a webcam, a computer and a pair of headphones and created software that would translate any colour in front of me into a sound.

Via BBC. Continue article HERE. Thanks to Crystal Henson

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