A Bigger Splash: Can You Hear The Colors?

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Throughout A Bigger Splash, a very specific palette of hazy pastels and the occasional tropical bright hold court. The soundtrack hews a similarly homogenous path – we hear operatic arias and interludes mostly, and the occasional pop-driven scene is jarring to our senses, taking us out of Hockney’s interior world.

This cohesion of color and sound is purposeful. It binds us to our protagonist, firmly ensconcing us in Hockney’s warren-like world of controllable environments – apartments and quiet galleries. When he ventures out to fashion shows or into the streets, he seems eternally distracted by the chaos around him, unable to engage with other people because of the environmental stimulus.

David Hockney has chromethesia,  a neurological condition in which sounds stimulate involuntary accompanying visual experiences. Hockney is particularly sensitive to music, and his condition plays a particularly large role in his stage design work for operas, resulting in lushly colored, magically enveloping sensory worlds.