Out of the Box Productions

An Installation from Out of the Box Productions

Three powerful women known as Synesthetes live in Chromesthesia. Using their voices and piano to reach in and through the sounds, they capture the vibrations and translate them to colours. Through this ritual, they gather the power of history and knowledge to forge a place of belonging. 

You are invited to join them in Chromesthesia. Wander close.

Stand back.


Can you sense your place in the union?


Originally from rural Alberta, Adria McCulloch holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Maryland Opera Studio. She has performed on operatic and concert stages across North America, including the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center and has recorded for NAXOS. Adria regularly collaborates with artists and scientists to produce works fusing art, entertainment, and research. Adria coaches actors, musicians, and lecturers to speak and sing with an effortless, free vibration.

"Hungarian-born mezzo Bó (Margaret) Bárdos is based in Southern Ontario and loves touring. At home with classical as well as new, experimental music, she seeks out creative challenges and cherishes working with good hearted people. With a voice described by Opera Canada as "mellow, fruity, that caresses the ears", Canadian and European appearances include interdisciplinary collaborative and site-specific projects that make use of her varied training: from Butoh dance and physical theatre to extended vocal technique and improvisation.  She continues as a grateful member of the studio of Tom Schilling. When not on stage, in the studio, or out collecting sounds, she can be found on the back of a horse, or meditating under her favourite clump of trees. Margaretbardos.ca"

Christina Faye​ is​​ ​an​ ​accomplished​ ​pianist​ ​making​ ​her​ ​home​ ​in​ ​Toronto.​ ​Originally​ ​from​ Thunder​ Bay, ​Ontario,​ ​​Christina​ ​truly discovered​ ​her​ ​love ​​for​ music​ at​​ ​the​ ​age​ ​of​ ​nine​ ​when she​ began​ ​playing​ ​ ​for​ ​a​ ​local​ ​children’s​ ​chorus.​ ​In​ 2007​ ​​she​ ​earned​ ​a​ ​Bachelor​ ​of​ ​Music​ from​ Brandon​ University,​ ​ ​and​ ​graduated​ ​from​ ​the​ ​Eastman ​​School ​​of​ ​Music​ ​with​ ​a​ ​Master​ ​of Music ​​in​ 2009.​ ​ Christina​ ​ ​has​ ​held ​​collaborative​ ​pianist​ ​positions​ ​at​ ​several​ ​major​ summer​ music​ programs,​ ​​including​ ​Opera​ ​Nuova, ​​the ​​Rocky​ Mountain​ ​ Summer​ ​ ​Conservatory ​​in Colorado, ​Canadian​ ​ ​Operatic​ Arts​ ​ ​Academy​ ​and ​​the ​Centre​ ​ ​for ​​Opera​ ​Studies ​​in​ Italy.​



As a deaf artist, I’m always curious how one sense can compensate or enhance our perception of input. Our piece Sound in Silence (2008, 2009) artistically explored how the brain “hears” sound when the ears are damaged; and revealed the phenomenon of Neuroplasticity.

For Chromesthesia, I wanted to explore the phenomenon of Synesthesia and specifically Chromesthesia-the ability to see colours when hearing sound. I invited three of my favorite musical artists to animate the installation, to gather their sound through the use of contact microphones and translate their music into light.

The central sculpture for the installation Chromesthesia was inspired by the cochlea of the inner ear. The cochlea receives sound in the form of vibrations, which cause the stereocilia to move. The stereocilia then convert these vibrations into nerve impulses which are taken up to the brain to be interpreted.


Chromesthesia  . . . heard sounds automatically and involuntarily evoke an experience of color.

Over the years, our creations with Out of the Box Productions have often explored the power of the operatic voice, especially in an intimate setting. This research project investigates the vibrations created by voice, and visualizes the results through colour and intensity. 

The first technical challenge was to isolate the sources. Each source, in this case a soprano, mezzo and piano accompanist, had to be isolated from each other. The solution, contact microphones worked amazingly well. The singers have contact mics on their throats, and the piano has a contact mic attached to the soundboard. While the piano keyboard will pick up some ambient sound, the voices are clean.

The three inputs, adjustable in the pre-amps of the Motu audio interface, are received in Vuo where the ‘vibrations’ are analyzed for position of maximum pitch (2047 frequency bins sampled and sorted) and then reads the intensity at that position. We have mapped the pitch of the singers voice to hue (within a controllable range) and the intensity of vibration to opacity (light levels). 

Vuo’s DMX nodes offer direct communication with our artnet DMXking node, thus eliminating any interface software. In this case, Vuo receives the input directly from the Motu audio interface, analyzes and maps/scales the data, then outputs the DMX signals directly to the RGB LED’s through the artnet node . . . an extremely clean and efficient set-up.