Sound and Color

September 30, 2023

Photo by Dylan Haefner

Sound and color are all around us, influencing our emotions and stimulating our minds. What happens when you hear and see them at their most extreme?

“As you look up into the skylight, into its changing aperture, let the vibrations wash over you.

How does it make you feel? You may become aware of your emotions shifting, you may notice your memories welling up.

Do you see the colors? Do you feel the sounds? Is your body tingling? Is your mind opening?”

The instructor's voice lilts from the center of the rotunda like a lullaby, like she’s speaking to a child or a patient. It’s as mesmerizing as the singing bowls she’s playing and the subtly shifting light coming through the ceiling.

I’m getting used to the new sensations. My body does start to tingle, first in my toes and then traveling through my legs and torso and arms. It’s the same wavelength as the resonation from her instrument. I’m captivated by the pink tone of the circular roof, both blending and contrasting from where I can see the gray of the sky in its center. It’s somewhere between emotional and spiritual, the way my mind halts its present tense and welcomes the past.

“Let the feeling take over…”

Photo by Dylan Haefner

All at once I fall through the floor where I lay. Somewhere on the way down, down, down I shift to land on my feet. I see them before I hear them, the sweaty bodies illuminated under neon lights. We’re on a stuffy dancefloor, a collective being of closed eyes and open mouths. My other senses return and I can hear the beat that everyone is moving to: gyrating, tranquilizing, booming. The room seems to pulse with music and light alike, and I am drawn further into the center. I am damp with someone else’s exertion, my hands are pulled up above my head, and my hips twist of their own accord.

“What does your mind show you?”

Tears well up in my eyes as I’m jerked upwards into a seat. It’s dim in this room, besides a yellow spotlight flooding the players on stage. Everyone facing me, every instrument pointing head-on. Each individual string ripples under the force of a bow, bubbling in and then out, up and then around. The faceless figures beside me sway in their chairs, rows and rows full, up and up and up. The whole auditorium is an instrument of its own, swelling and amplifying the notes. I soak in harmonies, I absorb all the light in the room.

“Who are you in this place?”

I land in tall grass that ripples and sways. Above me, the sun beats down in its familiar way, though I can see it radiating orange, touching everything around me. The wind tickles my skin and chimes in my ears, a call to stay exactly where I am. On the horizon, a portrait of blue and white idles, waiting for its cue to change colors. I know I won’t be able to rest here long, so I sit with the blades of grass, I let my face lift towards the sky. I do not weep; I do not shiver.

“Let yourself heal…” ■

Models: Payson Kelly
HMUA: Reagan Richard
Stylist: Divya Konkimalla

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