Sense Connections, June 1, 2013

Time: 7:3010:00 pm

Location: Main Auditorium, OCAD University, 100 McCaul St.

Free Public Event

An evening inspired by the synesthetic experience.

7:30-8:30pm Public Lecture:

Drawing without Vision

John M. Kennedy (University of Toronto)

How can a blind person draw the world? EW is a blind woman who draws pictures. She has been totally blind since infancy. In an artist statement for an exhibition in Kelowna, 2013, she writes that she is attempting to re-create on paper what she experiences with her non-visual senses. Her targets include tastes, smells, touch, the flow of time, temperature and space. In addition she tries to capture emotions, atmosphere, feelings, fantasies, ideas, even her own imagination of colours and light. She often combines several of these distinct elements. I will discuss the relation of EW’s goals to synesthesia.

John Kennedy is a University Professor (distinguished rank), and Emeritus, at the Department of Psychology, University of Toronto. His research is in the psychology of perception and cognition with special reference to representation by pictures. He developed a new analysis of figure and ground as one of a set of foreground and background percepts, described as apparent surface borders. “I described the complete set of possibilities for surface borders. I then hypothesized which of these were relevant to touch as well as vision. The developmental hypothesis has been supported. Indeed, my most recent papers, in press, support the idea that the highest levels of development possible in drawing in perspective are reached by the blind, as they are by the sighted. This line of investigation was described by the NY Times as one of the ‘ideas that change the way we think’ and by The Times as one of the top ten ideas of the year. Associated Press wrote in 2006 my work was seminal and influences the development of new programs in museums and galleries around the world.”

8:45pm Screening:


Concept by Christos Hatzis. Realization by Bruno Degazio.

Harmonia is a computer generated audio-visual work which examines the patterns generated by a sequence of slowly shifting harmonics. The work is generated entirely by this gradual unfolding of the harmonic series. This generating process is timed so that it occurs exactly once through the duration of the piece.

Harmonia implies a relativization of the perception of time because the unfolding process is equivalent to the microscopic examination of a fraction of a second of audio, stretched out by a factor of 90,000 to a length of 29 minutes. This relativization implies Plato’s definition of time as a “moving image of Eternity.”

The piece also has a synesthetic aspect because the generating process is both heard and seen. The process is heard as an orchestra of harmonically-related synthesized tones floating within a four-channel sound environment. It is seen as the geometric, scintillating intersections of variously coloured, equal-angled divisions of a circle.

Harmonia was conceived in 1980 by Christos Hatzis. The current computer realization of this project has been conducted principally by composer and audiovisual designer Bruno Degazio with contributions from animator Doug E. Smith.

A portion of Harmonia was used in the documentary film, The End of Time, which premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival.

With two recent Juno awards and a SOCAN Award to his credit and a slew of recent commissions by internationally recognized touring artists such as violinist Hilary Hahn, percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, soprano Suzie Leblanc, flutist Susan Hoeppner, the Pacifica Quartet and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra among others, as well as pop celebrities, such as George Dalaras, Sarah Slean and Steven Page,  Christos Hatzis is widely recognized as “one of the most important composers writing today” (CBC) and “a contemporary Canadian master” (New Yorker.) An unusually large number of performances and CD recordings of his music for Naxos, EMI, Analekta, Sony, CBC and other major and independent labels as well wide internet distribution of his audio playlist (over 1,700,000 hits since 2008) have garnered a loyal international following for his music. Recent and current work includes the premiere and US and European tour of Coming To and Dystopia by violinist Hilary Hahn, Lamento, a song cycle for pop singer Sarah Slean and Symphony Nova Scotia in April, Departures, Hatzis’ second flute concerto, which premiered in August 2011 by Susan Hoeppner and the Kyoto Symphony and in September by Patrick Gallois and the Thessaloniki State Orchestra and will be commercially released in 2013 by Naxos. Recent and upcoming orchestral performances and tours include Hatzis’ Telluric Dances with the Thessaloniki State Orchestra, which culminated in a concert at the Herod Atticus open amphitheatre at the foothill of the Acropolis in Athens in June 2012; Pyrrichean Dances, with the Wiener Concert Verein in November in November 2012 in Vienna; the world premiere of Redemption: Book 3 by the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Mirage? with Dame Evelyn Glennie and the Berlin Chamber Orchestra in November 2013. Upcoming commissions include: String Quartet No. 3 for the Afiara String Quartet and The Isle is Full of Noises for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. Hatzis’ music is influenced by early Christian spirituality, Pythagorean and Hermetic ideas, his own Byzantine music heritage, world cultures and religions, and various classical, jazz and pop music idioms from the past and present. He is a believer in borderless culture and the uninhibited flow of cultural information. A professor of composition at the University of Toronto, Hatzis writes extensively on these and other related subjects. His writings, audio playlists and other information about the composer are available at

Bruno Degazio is a film sound designer, composer, researcher and educator living in Toronto, Canada. His many concert works for traditional and electronic media have been performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia. His film work includes the special-effects sound design for the Oscar-nominated documentary film, The Fires of Kuwait and music for the all-digital, six-channel sound tracks of the IMAX films Titanica, Flight of the Aquanaut and CyberWorld 3D as well as many other IMAX films, feature films, and television dramas.

As a researcher in the field of automated music composition using fractals and genetic algorithms he has presented papers and musical works at leading international conferences, including festivals in Toronto, Montreal, New York City, London, The Hague, Berlin, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

Mr. Degazio is the designer of MIDIForth and The Transformation Engine, software systems with application to automated music composition and data sonification. He is currently investigating the potential of the algorithmic combination of OpenGL graphics with automated music composition.

He is Professor of Digital Tools in the BA Classical Animation program of Sheridan College, Canada.


From 10pm, follow us to the El Mocambo (464 Spadina Ave; upstairs), for a perfomance by Greg Jarvis and his band, Flowers of Hell

Leave a Reply