Chromesthesia

Artists: Harry Hock (Australia) / Jonathon Bolitho (Australia) 

Chromesthesia is an immersive installation that encourages participants to experience the convergence of sound and light, based on a neurological condition called chromesthesia — which causes those affected to involuntarily correlate sounds with an experience of colour.

Although incidence of the condition is extremely rare a remarkable number of artists are or were chromesthesic — among them: Vincent Van Gogh, Wassily Kandinksy and David Hockney as well as musicians Leonard Bernstein and Duke Ellington.

Participants enter a shipping container where they are immersed in bands of colour that correspond to a particular sound frequency emanating from the speakers — as an example, when the viewer is standing in the blue 'band' of light, they will hear a ‘C’ note.

This reinforces the idea that colour, light, sound and our perceptions are nuanced and subjective.

The highly directional nature of the speakers lining the container mean that multiple sounds can be heard in isolation within a small space: yet as the viewer journeys from one end to the other they can create melodies as the colours blur into one.

Chromesthesia uses sound and light to draw parallels between seemingly separate phenomena, broadening our understanding of how we perceive and gather information from our senses and move toward a more holistic perceptual experience of the world around us.

Harry Hock and Jonathon Bolitho are Sydney-based multidisciplinary artists interested in developing unique and engaging modes of interaction. Their practice is rooted in emerging media technologies, utilising sound, light and advanced systems to build dynamic installations. Their aim is to expand people's understanding of their environment and invoke a heightened sensory awareness. 

Country represented by installation: Australia