[accessibleimage] Re: Paintings really can be heard, scientist says

  • From: "Vince Thacker" <vince@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <accessibleimage@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 17:22:16 +0100

Thanks Peter, will certainly try the font characters as a training aid.

As far as I can remember, I've had the synaesthesia all my life. I've probably cultivated it a bit simply because it's pleasurable and has its uses.

Connected to this sort of thing, the 2003 Reith Lectures by Professor Ramachandran were intriguing and entertaining. Seems you can still listen to them at


He covered such phenomena as synaesthesia, blind sight and the areas of the brain concerned with visual images, not all of them directly connected with the eyes, it seems.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Peter Meijer" <blindfold@xxxxxxxxxx>
To: <accessibleimage@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 11:42 AM
Subject: [accessibleimage] Re: Paintings really can be heard, scientist says

Hi Vince,

Yes, there will be many more questions than answers for
a long time to come. I'm pretty sure that most sighted
people cannot make much sense of Kandinsky paintings in
the visual domain either. <g> However, an issue with
The vOICe is indeed that sound complexity increases with
image complexity, while typical environmental views are
often already so complex that a key question is if and
to what extent the interpretation can be mastered through
sound like one can with simple views showing, say, a few
lines or rectangles. Those who wish to pursue it can also
experiment with conventional letter shapes like those in
the zip file at the direct URL


After unzipping, one can import these image files into
The vOICe Learning Edition via its file requester (Control O).

Did you always have this form of synesthesia, or did it
develop later on?

Best wishes,

Peter Meijer

Seeing with Sound - The vOICe http://www.seeingwithsound.com/winvoice.htm

Vince Thacker wrote:
Hi Peter and all,

I'm glad to be able to try theVoice and it's a fascinating idea, but my brain can't make sense of the sound output. I'm not sure if this means some of us need a lot of practice or training to do this, or whether some channels in various people's brains are more like superhighways than others.

I do get very vivid pictures from music and have associations between various series of things and colours/textures/patterns with, e.g., letters, numbers, months, days of the week, so to that extent I guess I have a mild form of synaesthesia, which I value highly. But it's not well enough developed to hear a painting by any means I've come across so far.

Perhaps it will take some fantastically complex rendering of the visuals to achieve this crossover, and maybe the method would have to be very customisable to achieve any kind of equal access. I have always loved Walt Disney's 'Fantasia', which mimics pretty closely the way my brain puts images to music - Stravinsky was extremely annoyed at this idea, I believe, and thought that music was pure and of itself, so it clearly takes all sorts of people to make a world.


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