Mindhue Studio

Printmaking, conceptual and installation art

Alphanumeric Synaesthetic Interpretation of Digital Self-Portrait Pixel Values

This is an old project that suddenly found new life. It also needs a bit of explanation. Let’s say you have a black and white digital image, all shades of gray. Each of these pixels has a value that ranges from 0 (black) to 255 (white). This range looks odd, until you realize it’s actually a number coded in hexadecimal. This means that instead of 0123456789, the numbers count like 01234567890ABCDEF, which means each digit has 16 values. In normal numbers, “10” is exactly ten, and in hexadecimal, “10” is actually sixteen. This also means that “100” in decimal is exactly one hundred (10×10), and in hexadecimal, “100” is 256 (16×16).

What this means is that gray pixels can be defined as a two-digit number from 00 to FF. This means I can convert a two-digit grayscale pixel number to two color values representing my alphanumeric synaesthesia for those digits. If a pixel is gray value 78, a dark gray, the hexadecimal number is 4E, which is colored 4E.

So a grayscale image will convert to a full-color image with doubled pixels. Here’s an example of those pixels:

So I decided to create a self-portrait using this coloring scheme. I used this base image in grayscale:

I has to do some serious data conversion and manipulation, but I finally got that image rendered in the colors I see related to letters and numbers:

And here is that color map, layered with the original image: