Synaesthesia is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in another. People who report such experiences are known as synaesthetes, and some, can hear in colour. 8-Bit Synaesthete is a digital realisation of this condition using musical performance to create visual artworks in 8-Bit (256) colour via a uniquely designed computer program.
The development of the installation was galvanised by concepts within the work of Russian composer Alexander Scriabin (1872 – 1915). Scriabin was particularly interested in synaesthesia and the psychological effects on an audience when they experienced sound and colour simultaneously. His theory was that when the correct colour was perceived with the correct sound, ‘a powerful psychological resonator for the listener’ would be created. This led him to devise his own colour chart which was used in his most famous synaesthetic work, Prometheus: Poem of Fire. 8-Bit Synaesthete continues in this vain offering a bridge between the senses, while attempting to blur the distinction between music, digital technology and visual fine art.
Each aspect of the visuals are determined by pitch and amplitude detection. Lines are created as the program evaluates the audio and recognises attacks in the signal. Each registered attack signals the command to draw one line and the properties of that line are determined by 4 elements:
Pitch > Line Colour
Absolute Amplitude > Line Weight
Triad > Position on X-axis
Relative Amplitude > Position on Y-axis
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