Color for the Blind: Part 2

Color for the Blind: Part 2

The spiritual life has its advantages. Occasionally, and mostly during meditation, I become aware of a different reality, a world of the spirit. In this world, aspects of G-d are revealed to us differently. To be sure, our senses our engaged in that revelation. But they are engaged in unexpected ways. In our daily experience, for example, we know love as a feeling. But in prayer and meditation, we can understand G-d’s love as part of His creation equation. Is not nature sustained through the interdependent relationship of its elements? G-d’s love can be understood as the openness of elements in Nature, one to the other. The flower receives the bee. Smoke soothes the bee and she yields her honey. Some sugar inspires a creative thought. We build.

This experience of the spiritual offered a key to dealing with my blindness. If I could “see” love, something normally felt, perhaps I could feel what was normally seen. Or perhaps I could hear what was normally seen! This possibility of using sound in lieu of sight to understand the physical world around me, and the visual expressions of that world in art, occurred to me when I started learning the seung, the traditional 4-stringed Thai guitar. Both the feeling and the sound of strings vibrating, quickly and slowly, softly and loudly, conveyed a variety of emotions. And more than this, the organization of notes, in various linear and horizontal patterns, were experienced in my mind as colors, structures and textures.

It was with fascination that I discovered today an article about this relationship between sound and image perception. Professor Amir Amedi of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is doing brilliant research in the area of sensory perception. Amir has actually developed an algorithm which translates images into soundscapes! And he even has an I-phone app that works with camera and headset to practically implement the algorithm! You can discover this article here: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140309150441.htm

It was in this context, and with this personal background, that I became instantly fascinated with Lolita’s explorations of the relationships between music and art.  (more to come!)


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