Play a Kandinsky

February 2021 | By Centre Pompidou and Google Arts & Culture Lab

What if you could hear color? Explore Vassily Kandinsky’s synesthesia and “play” his pioneering masterpiece, Yellow-Red-Blue, with the help of machine learning.

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‘Play a Kandinsky’ invites you to hear what Vassily Kandinsky might have heard when painting "Yellow-Red-Blue" in 1925 by bringing to life his theories and writings on his synesthesia & Abstract Art.

In a collaboration between sound artists Antoine Bertin and NSDOS, and Google Magenta's machine learning model Transformer, the sounds you hear are inspired by Kandinsky's extensive writing on the sounds he associated with colors & shapes.

We recommend watching the film above that details how the machine learning model was used.

There are four chapters to the experience:

1) Explore Kandinsky's theories on color and sound and the relationship between shapes,

2) Hear the composed version of the painting created with help from machine learning,

3) Discover the emotions Kandinsky associated with color and shape and 'play the painting'.

4) You can create and share your own musical mix of the painting, highlighting your chosen emotions as inspired by Kandinsky.

This project is a collaboration with Centre Pompidou in Paris.

Delve deeper into the pioneer of abstract art's colorful life at where you can uncover rare personal pictures and archival materials - some previously undisclosed to the general public - and discover an unprecedented emotive and educational access into the artist’s legacy and retrace his life online. 

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