The Cybernetics of Color and Sound

The Cybernetics of Color and Sound

This year's Vimeo Grand Jury Prize winner is Rafel Duran Torrent's feature about Neil Harbisson, a man who was born with complete color blindness, a condition called achromatopsia. People with achromatopsia can only see in black and white. In 2004, Harbisson attended a lecture on cybernetics by Plymoth University student Adam Montandon who later joined Harbisson to develop a device called the eyeborg. The eyeborg allows Harbisson to "see" color as sound. He can now perceive colors outside of the range of normal human vision.

As an artist, Harbisson has depicted his relationship between color and sound through such works as sound portraits where he paints the frequency of people's faces, the human color wheel, where he's developed the full color spectrum of human skin, and color scores where he's transformed music into color.

What's also interesting about Harbisson is his status as the first recognized cyborg since the eyeborg is now an implanted prosthesis and his brain has been physically altered by the device to perceive color. He explains that beyond the eyeborg being part of his head, the software for the device has joined his brain to form new neurological tissue.