The Luthiers

Neil Harbisson (27 July 1982) is a Catalan-raised, Northern Ireland-born contemporary artist, composer and cyborg activist best known for his self-extended ability to hear colours and to perceive colours outside the ability of human vision. In 2004 he became the first person in the world to wear an eyeborg. The inclusion of the eyeborg on his passport photo has been claimed by some to be official recognition of Harbisson as a cyborg. Colour and the use of technology as an extension of the performer, and not as part of the performance, are the central themes in Harbisson's work. In 2010, he founded the Cyborg Foundation, an international organisation to help humans become cyborgs. In 2004, Harbisson was not allowed to renew his UK passport because his passport photo was rejected. The passport office would not allow Harbisson to appear with electronic equipment on his head. Harbisson wrote back to them insisting that the eyeborg should be considered part of his body as he had become a cyborg. Letters from his doctor, friends and his college were sent to the passport office to give him support. After weeks of correspondence Harbisson's prosthetic device was included. Harbisson states that he became a cyborg when the union between his organism and cybernetics created new neuronal tissue in his brain that allowed him to perceive colour through a new sense: "It's not the union between the eyeborg and my head what converts me into a cyborg but the union between the software and my brain".


Samuel Zygmuntowicz pulled a piece of paper out from the strings of a violin resting on his workbench and read it. He picked up the instrument and tipped it back and forth. Something made a noise within. “L’âme est branlant,” he said, and then set the violin down. Sam grabbed a small metal tool. He picked the violin up and rocked it until a small dowel, round as a pencil and half as long, fell out the sound hole. He skewered the dowel in the side with the twisted metal tool and slowly inserted the pierced dowel into the sound hole, where he lodged l’âme in the body. He set the tool down and picked up a bow. He played music and then set the bow down. Inserting the metal tool through the sound hole, he nudged l’âme and then played more music. He repeated this until he said, “L’ame est illuminée.” He sighed. He blew the dust off the neck and set the violin down. He worked on other violins. The bell rang and a man walked in. He asked Sam if his violin was ready. Sam handed him the violin and said you be the judge. The man played music and then said brilliant, handing Sam some money. The bell rang when the man walked out the door with the violin under his arm. Sam looked at the other violins on his bench, and he picked up another piece of paper.

The Modern English word soul derived from Old English sáwol, sáwel, first attested to in the 8th century poem Beowulf v. 2820 and in the Vespasian Psalter 77.50, and is cognate with other Germanic and Baltic terms for the same idea, including Gothic saiwala, Old High German sêula, sêla, Old Saxon sêola, Old Low Franconian sêla, sîla, Old Norse sála as well as Lithuanian siela. Further etymology of the Germanic word is uncertain. A more recent suggestion connects it with a root for "binding", Germanic *sailian (OE sēlian, OHG seilen), related to the notion of being "bound" in death, and the practice of ritually binding or restraining the corpse of the deceased in the grave to prevent his or her return as a ghost. The word is probably an adaptation by early missionaries—particularly Ulfilas, apostle to the Goths during the 3rd century—of a native Germanic concept, which was a translation of Greek ψυχή psychē "life, spirit, consciousness". The Greek word is derived from a verb "to cool, to blow" and hence refers to the vital breath, the animating principle in humans and other animals, as opposed to σῶμα (soma) meaning "body". It could refer to a ghost or spirit of the dead in Homer, and to a more philosophical notion of an immortal and immaterial essence left over at death since Pindar. Latin anima figured as a translation of ψυχή since Terence. Psychē occurs juxtaposed to σῶμα e.g. in Matthew 10:28.