The Synesthete’s Music Box

[This is an on-going project.]


The Synaesthete’s Music Box is a project built by ArtMakesUs. It is a sound machine inspired by the idea of synesthesia. A synesthete is someone who perceives secondary sensations involuntarily through another sensory stimulation. For example, a synesthete will “see” explosions of colour in his mind when listening to loud music, or ‘hear’ sounds in his head when viewing a painting.

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In this exploration of synesthesia, we enable our audiences to attempt a synesthetic experience through play. The box resembles a gramophone, with a turn table and a spindle. When the spindle is activated, the turn-table spins. OurĀ audience had a range of laser-cut vinyl-like discs, each with its own unique sound aesthetic. In addition to this, the users could add Lego blocks on the disc as it spun. Each colour of the Lego blocks was linked to a particular sound within the sound collection of the disc. A computer connected to a camera picked up the colours, and then played the corresponding sounds. Depending on the sound collection, users could make melodies, beats, or just noise.


This project was presented by members of ArtMakesUs at Penang Maker Faire, Living Leonardos at ArtScience Museum in Singapore, and other minor events.