Though born without the ability to perceive color, artist and activist Neil Harbisson’s work, career, and life are anything but monochromatic. Recognized as the world’s first cyborg, Harbisson boasts an unusual aesthetic aid: an antenna implanted into his skull that enables him to “hear” colors.
“I am not using technology, or wearing technology.
I am technology.”
Extending from the back of his head forward, the appendage is comprised of a rod, a chip, and light sensor. Located at the tip of the antenna, the sensor picks up the frequencies of colors before him, and then sends them to the chip in the back of his head. The chip then transposes the frequencies into vibrations, which translate into sounds in his ears.
Through this process, Harbisson is able to create works of art—namely, his Sound Portraits. To create a portrait, Harbisson simply stands before an individual and aims his antenna toward his or her facial features. Each color found on the face creates a specific note, which he writes down on manuscript paper. Thus, the end result–unique microtone chords–become individual “portraits.”
With portraits of prominent figures ranging from Prince Charles to Woody Allen, it is clear that, through his unique practice, Harbisson has his art down to a science. (Via BBC News)