synesthesia, artificial and natural

deconcrete: Neil Harbisson’s third eye:

“Neil Harbisson introduces himself as the first cyborg ever legally recognized by any Government (2004). He was born colour-blind; so he can only see in black and white (Achromatopsia disorder). An electronic device implanted in his neck allows him to translate colours into sounds. The camera that hangs from his forehead 24/7 was accepted as part of his British passport photo. By that very fact, the camera became congenital and not prosthetic to his body anymore. Thanks to it, light frequencies are captured and translated into sound frequencies by the chip, which in turn sends them to his brain. He literally listens to colours with his electronic eye. A standard eye perceives light, tone and saturation. Harbisson’s organic eyes perceive light, but tone is converted into sound, and saturation into volume through his third eye.”

Tiny, mild hints of synesthesia have been slipping back into my life, like the waterproofed nylon pouches at work that smell like zippers running over my teeth or the barest trace of a taste being associated with a name, the way “Gavin” sometimes seems like a small white stone sitting on the center of my tongue. Though the experience is oddly natural, a far away corner of my brain fills with dread every time I notice it happening. To say I am concerned would be an understatement. Is this how it starts, the family madness? Are some six essential cells in my temporal lobe flickering in seizure? I do not know how to tell.