The last image I made for the Two-Tone collection, Disrupt, sparked an idea for this new collection by the same name. It got me thinking about not just the nature of disruption, but its function and place in human behavior.
Humans behave so strangely, and we carry out many of our behaviors with little to no thought. This is necessary to conserve energy, but we’re not meant to run on autopilot so much. Let’s check in more often and see what we’re up to. That itself is disruptive.
disrupt. is a collection of text-oriented images. Letters are nothing more than abstract drawings representing sounds, so I suppose this qualifies as abstract art. Each NFT will carry an action that subverts our broken status quo.
Except for one, which will say “irregardless” because a friend wanted to know if he could commission a word. (Very funny, Diarpi.) I can hardly believe I’m going to do that. I’m an editor, for Pete’s sake. My mother will be horrified.
But it’s funny and I’m gonna have a field day over it.
These are big enough for a 4k/UHD screen, if that’s your thing. The images I use for the web are scaled down for page loading speed, but the ones I’m minting are 3840 x 2160px. Most of the scribbling is done with brush strokes less than four pixels, so there’s plenty to see very close up.
later the same day
Diarpi has really done a number on me. I have lexical-gustatory synesthesia and the word he chose — irregardless — tastes like garlic powder. Like someone is dumping granulated garlic powder straight into my mouth from the container.
It’s a good thing these are so big and I’ll be zoomed in most of the time hiding secret messages in it.
I told him about this predicament and now he wants me to add the taste as an attribute in the metadata. Then brought up something I’ve wondered myself. Why have I not done a collection about synesthesia?
First, it’s difficult to conceptualize. My brain translates words into smells and tastes, but how do I take a taste that has been translated from a word and translate that visually? Like in a way that connects the dots?
Kandinsky had to do something similar when he wrote The Yellow Sound. If you’ve never read it, it’s an enormously intriguing stage production about a particular sound Kandinsky saw. It’s his attempt to explain the color and movement he experienced with sound, in the form of bodies in motion.
If you read it, it seems impossible to perform unless CGI effects could be 3D-printed on demand and controlled by telekinesis. But here’s a performance of it.
It’s the most fascinating thing I’ve ever read. Well done, Kandinsky. His brain turned sounds into color, and he turned the yellow sound into dance that could give us some kind of clue what the colors did in his head when he heard music.
Y’all, that takes a certain amount of panache.
There’s also the matter that smelling and tasting words is so deeply rooted in my identity. So if I’m gonna do a synesthesia project, I’m taking as much time as I need to get it right. I’ll probably have to learn new skills or find collaborators.
I’ve also been waiting for an accommodating format. Images alone don’t do the idea justice. And very, very fortunately, no one invented smell-o-vision even though everyone seemed to be talking about it in the ’80s.
If I were doing this as a performance piece, I would simply stand still and let people put random food into my mouth and wave things under my nose while they talk to me. Because that’s what conversations are like. But something about letting strangers put things in my mouth doesn’t sit quite well.
Diarpi has convinced me to put all the flavors and smells from the words in each disrupt. CNFT into the metadata. So when you read one, you can think about eating or smelling whatever is in the metadata. As rapidly as people speak or as rapidly as you can read. Be prepared to taste more than one thing at a time with maybe a smell thrown in.
Some words don’t taste or smell like anything. If no words on the image do, I’ll find related words to include in the metadata.
Maybe that will give you a hint what my perceptions are like while I conceptualize a project dedicated to it.
Like The Yellow Sound, it’ll still be like trying to interpret reality from dancing shadows on a cave wall. But maybe the dancing shadows are just as real as anything outside the cave.