Neil Harbisson ‘hears’ the tonal equivalent of colours through an antenna implanted in his skull. Image Credit: Courtesy: Dubai Media Office

Dubai: Neil Harbisson, the world’s first ‘cyborg artist’, is set to enchant the audience at the Dubai Canvas Festival 2016 — which will run from March 1-14 — with his musical interpretations of Dubai’s colours.

Organised by Brand Dubai, the creative arm of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO), in cooperation with Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR), the second annual Dubai Canvas Festival will feature over 60 works of well-known international, regional and local artists. The Festival will be held from March 1 to 14 at the Jumeirah Beach Residence.

Harbisson, who has officially been recognised as a cyborg, “hears” the tonal equivalent of colours through an antenna implanted in his skull. Based on the colours of Dubai, the British-born, Catalan-raised artist will be composing a piece of music called “Colour Dubai Symphony” in collaboration with local singers and musicians. This will be the first musical composition Harbisson will be creating based on the colours of a city.

Born with a rare form of colour blindness called achromatopsia, Harbisson developed an antenna to counter his disability. The antenna embedded in his skull enables him to interpret colours as different musical frequencies.

The device allows him to perceive both visible and invisible colours such as infrareds and explore the use of artistic expression via sensory extensions.

Harbisson says that Dubai provides the perfect setting for him to share his unique tonal perspectives on colour. “Dubai’s unique cityscape and cultural diversity will create a unique palette that strongly identifies its character. I’m looking forward to exploring and experiencing it through my antenna.”

The artist, who is also a cyborg activist, sees his participation in Dubai Canvas as a “great opportunity to share an emerging art movement with the Middle East for the first time. I hope I can share the benefits of merging technology with the body and how becoming a cyborg can open our minds and awaken our senses”.

Harbisson will be touring the city to capture his impressions of Dubai — the colours of the buildings and people he encounters — to build a series of sounds that will be used to create the Colour Dubai Symphony.