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When art meets tech

While your mum still couldn't figure out how to download the app she needs herself, there is an artist somewhere who thinks technology isn't something that we use or wear, it's us that can become technology. The sound of it is scary, I know. You imagine yourself to be walking in the street like it's a normal day, but then you bump into someone whose skull has been surgically modified to attain a sixth sense. Surgically modified? Sixth sense?!

A year ago, I was sent by a HuffingtonPost writer, Sissi Johnson, to the New York Times Art for Tomorrow Conference. If only I could write 'I've met Jeff Koons once' in my Instagram bio, I would but he might serve me with a restraining order. Kidding aside, it's one of the most exhilarating moments of my life. New York Times writers, UNESCO people, Jean Nouvel, Marina Abramović, some pretty big names in the art world and I were all there under one roof — who would've thought? But there was I, with my iPhone recording, getting an exclusive interview with HRH Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark.

That's where this all came from. The passion for the nexus between art and technology, I mean.

A picture paints a thousand words. Add a thousand more to that if the photograph is framed in a device that streams a custom sound to accompany the audience's viewing experience. His Royal Highness Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark collaborated with Soundwall, a tech brand that literally brings music to your art, to give three of his photographs a calming ocean sound.

Adding music to photographs

“Aaron Cohen, CEO of Soundwall, asked me ‘What does your photograph sound like?’ Without sounding too corny, I feel like I’m listening to music in my mind while I’m taking pictures,” said HRH Prince Nikolaos.
“In this particular exhibition, we have something which is quite soothing and calming; and therefore [we have selected] soothing and calming music with it,” he said when I asked about what the process of selecting music that would accompany his photographs was like.

"I feel like I’m listening to music in my mind while I’m taking pictures."

—HRH Prince Nikolaos

Developing relationships with machines

“We are at a breaking point where we develop relationships with machines,” said Pia MYrvoLD during her presentation called Hybrid Love at The New York Times Art for Tomorrow 2016.

With her interactive installation ART AVATAR, MYrvoLD makes use of tracking devices and infrared motion sensors to let spectators co-create its artistic experience. “Spectators can make new words but they’re built on my letters."

Listening to color / Sensing earthquakes in real time

CYBORG: a word I only hear from a Schwarzenegger film my dad likes to watch. But there they were right before my eyes — real-life cyborg artists, in fact the founders of Cyborg Foundation Moon Ribas and Neil Harbisson were on stage giving us an absolutely jaw-dropping moment as we meet their new senses. Apparently five senses ain't enough. Through cybernetics, Ribas achieved a seismic sense, a self-made power that allows her to sense every earthquake anywhere in the world in real time; and Harbisson, growing up color blind, surgically modified his brain to add an antenna that gives him the sonochromatic sense, allowing him to experience colors through sound.

His best work, the Sound Portraits is the most literal sense of the 'musical equivalent of a portrait'. It is a series of notes that's derived from converting the frequency of colors of your face into musical notes using Harbisson's antenna.

“We are in a moment in history where we no longer need to use technology or wear technology. We can actually become technology,” said Harbisson in their Cyborg Art presentation at Art for Tomorrow 2016.

“Instead of using technology to create art, we can use technology to create ourselves. We can design our senses, bodies, perception or reality,” Ribas added.[no-sidebar]

photo/video courtesy Art for Tomorrow fig 1–5, Pia MYrvoLD fig 6, Neil Harbisson fig 7–8

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