SPEAKER | Society

Neil Harbisson

Catalan contemporary artist, composer and cyborg activist

the mesh schedule

Keynote Conversation

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Date: May 27
Time: 10:10 AM – 11:00 AM
Location: 99 Sudbury | Glass Factory, mesh Main Stage

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Neil is a Catalan contemporary artist, composer and cyborg activist best known for his ability to hear colours and to perceive colours outside the ability of human vision. Neil was born with achromatopsia, a condition that only allowed him to see in greyscale. In 2003, he took part in the development of the eyeborg, a cybernetic eye permanently attached to his head that allows him to hear the frequencies of colours through bone conduction (including infrareds and ultraviolets). Harbisson started to feel like a cyborg, a union between his organism and cybernetics, when he started to hear colours in his dreams. Since then, he creates sonochromatic art works and performances that explore the relationship between colour and sound, and the relationship between bodies and cybernetics. In 2010 he co-founded the Cyborg Foundation with Moon Ribas, an international organization that aims to help people become cyborgs, defend cyborg rights and promote cyborgism as an artistic and social movement. In 2013, Neil had the antenna surgically implanted which now allows him not only to perceive colour as sound but to connect live to the colours that others can see. He believes that this new antenna opens up new communication possibilities that go beyond our traditional senses.