Visual Ears Project

Interdisciplinary studies have been shaping and reshaping the boundaries and meaning of music and the visual arts as well as theoretical frameworks upon which these practices are built. On the other hand, performing and fine arts contribute to a broad range of topics and questions examined by other disciplines such as neuroscience and cognitive psychology leading to a deeper understanding of human perception: the spectacular translation of neural activity in the central nervous system into meaningful information.
VISUALEARS is an innovative interdisciplinary project, designed and curated by Shafagh Hadavi, (a student in York University’s M.A. Program in Interdisciplinary Studies) as the creative component of her Master’s thesis which is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The project aims to explore music perception and cognition, as well as the experience of mood immersion through the visualization of music, a sonic, gestural phenomenon, by contemporary visual artists, and a consequent immersive experience of simultaneous music-listening and art-watching by a global, virtual audience. All artworks are original and represent each artist’s unique and personal visualization of select musical works as they translate what they have heard into what can be seen.
Two different formats are presented in the virtual rooms of the VISUALEARS exhibition. One offers an immersive experience that includes both music and original works of visual art; the other, a non-immersive version, hosts only the visual works of art. Visitors will be randomly assigned to one of the formats; but if they are directed to the non-immersive one, a link will be provided to the immersive version at the end of their visit, giving them the opportunity to experience the immersive exhibition at their leisure if they wish.
Sincere gratitude to all the participating artists for their remarkable openness and collaborative spirit, to Professor Irene Markoff, Professor David Scott Armstrong, and Professor Joseph DeSouza for their invaluable support and mentorship throughout the entire process, to everyone who helped in any shape or form in realizing this project, and to all viewers and participants for their much-appreciated interest and time. Wishing everyone an enjoyable experience!