• Madi Boyd: Point of Perception (2013)

    Madi Boyd

    The Point of Perception | 2013

    ‘The Point of Perception is a collaborative project between artist Madi Boyd and neuroscientists Professor Mark Lythgoe and Dr Beau Lotto. The work is a visually uncertain space designed to explore ambiguity in perception and how the brain resolves what the eye sees. …

    My extensive evaluation of the work with members of the public and the scientific community led me to discover the similarity between the forms I had created in Point of Perception and the phenomenon of form constants. These are spontaneously generated forms, which appear in the visual field without external stimuli, during, for example, sensory deprivation, drug hallucinations, or simply when pressure is applied to the eyeballs. They are believed to be based on the architecture of the brain itself, and, most importantly, they are universal. “Many people do suspect that the form constants point to some deep, fundamental aspect of perception.” (Richard Cytowic, 1997).  

    My research led me then to cross-modal perception, and to synaesthesia, particularly because synaesthetic percepts are also spontaneously generated without visual input, and are believed to be generated in the same area of the brain as form constants. Many believe that they are the clue to Synaesthesia also being universal, that everyone is born synaesthetic but only some retain an explicit awareness of it.

    This led me to develop The Point of Perception through sound and colour in order to explore the concept of synaesthesia further. I was informed by my own experience of synaesthesia, (sound to visual type), which involves colour but is also characterised by form and movement, and exists on many planes in 3D space.

    However, I was also trying to tap into the ‘universal synaesthesia’ by matching the patterns of movement and space between the sound and images in a way that everyone could recognise, and is apparent in the language we use to describe music. For this I worked closely with the composer Nye Parry, who has researched synaesthesia, and whose work is about the spatialisation of sound.’ (Madi Boyd)

    Sound composition: Nye Perry

    Primary sensory cross-modalities: TOUCH, VISION, AUDIO, PROPRIOCEPTION, KINAESTHETICS