Encounters with the Posthuman – Issue 26: Color

On the second balmy
day of the year in New York, Neil Harbisson, a Catalan artist, musician, and self-professed
“cyborg,” walked into a café in the Nolita district of Manhattan. The actor
Gabriel Byrne was sitting at a table in the corner. Harbisson approached. “May
I do a sound portrait of you? It will just take one minute. For nine years,
I’ve been listening to colors,” he explained.

Byrne eyed his
questioner from under raised eyebrows. On a slight frame, the 30-year-old
Harbisson wore a white T-shirt, deep-pink jeans and black-and-white showman’s
brogues. His face was angular, with an aquiline nose and a chin smudged with
grown-out stubble. A small plastic oval floated in front of his forehead,
attached to the end of a flexible stem that reached around from the back of his
head and over a sandy pageboy mop, like the light on the head of an angler fish. This “eyeborg,” as Harbisson calls it, converts
light into audible sound, with a pitch that varies according to the color of
the light.

I AM CYBORG: The artist Neil Harbisson, with his “eyeborg” that translates color into audible sound. He has been wearing a version of the…

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