Reverse Color Organ

Ellen Hackl Fagan and Konrad Kaczmarek’s Reverse Color Organ (RCO) enables viewers to explore synaesthesia, or sensory blending. The system utilizes image recognition and audio playback software to create a sonic approach to paintings. As the viewer points the web camera at a painting that image’s particular audio loop is triggered suggesting an aural equivalent.


The sonic palate includes music composed specifically for the paintings, but also nd samples of popular music that are in some way linked to the images.

In its current stage, the artist and composer determine the visual/sonic relationships. In the future, they plan to use additional sensors and image processing to give viewers a more active role in determining the relationships between the images and their sounds. For example, color could be used to control the pitch of the sound and lightness could control the frequency spectrum. As the viewer navigates the camera through the image on a micro scale they will have control over their own selection and processing of the sounds.

Via Peter Kirn’s excellent coverage of the IMC expo. Picture stolen from his photo gallery.

Related: Toshio Iwai’s Sound-Lens.