Beauty Reeks of Rot
A contribution from an anonymous source, who we shall call Trevor. Trevor has the most bizarre synesthesia. It overlaps. It is hard to keep track of what senses are overlapping with other senses overlapping with themselves. His most potent synesthetic response is that he ends up ‘smelling’ an aura of scents — each one unique and associated with a person. It does not appear for a...
A Gathering of Synesthetes
Over the past month, I have slowly seeded the entire nation with requests for synesthetes to step up and share their stories and their artistic imagery with us. Finally, these requests have started to come in, and the replies are encouraging. Of course, the journey is incomplete without asking on the blog itself, so here goes: Are you a synesthete? Would you like your words, tales, or imagery...
Rhythm Synesthesia In Irish Dance →
Kate Spanos is a dancer who once worked with Martin van der Berg on the study of synesthetics. She has incorporated synesthesia into some of her works and has demonstrated sound and rhythm synesthesia as part of a dance performance for the American Synesthesia Association. I have said that I experience rhythm-induced synesthesia, but I’ve never been able to elaborate on this experience. In...
Kitkit And Woobul
Let’s say you are analyzing a newly found language. You have to piece together one last piece of the puzzle, and know that one of the following symbols is called a “Woobul” and the other is called “Kitkit.” Take your best guess as to which is kitkit and which is woobul. 90% of people asked this question will guess the same way. Vilayanur Ramachandran, Director of...
Soundscapes 3 ♦ Petrichor by Opiuo on Slurp and...
Though related to synesthesia, ideasthesia is very different. The idea, not just the experience, would induce a sensory experience. Grapheme → color synesthetes are also ideasthetes because the association to color is not strictly tied to seeing a letter. My synesthesia is also ideasthesia because I experience colors with people and emotions, with some intersection of both.
The more I talk about my personality → color synesthesia, the more I realize that it may be more emotionally mediated than I realized. Everyone has three colors: 1) Their “base” color, 2) the color that pairs with the first color, and 3) a “secret” color that only appears when they do something unexpected. People’s colors change—very briefly—depending on my impression...
The Beauty Of Neural Crosstalk: An Unusual...
The Hidden Sense: Synesthesia in Art and Science Cretien van Campen explores synesthesia from both artistic and scientific perspectives, looking at accounts of individual experiences, examples of synesthesia in visual art, music, and literature, and recent neurological research. Van Campen reports that some studies define synesthesia as a brain impairment, a short circuit between two...
We Just Got Off On The Wrong Colors! →
Scientific American’s ‘06 article on the basics of Synesthesia includes this little gem, leading to a further field of inquiry — the unique dating and living compatibility issues inherent to someone for whom your name might look like moldy bread, or taste like raw fish: [S]ynesthetes also report making computational errors because 6 and 8 have the same color and claim to prejudge...
The One Taste of the Universe, or How To...
I tapped my hands on the table like I normally would do. But this time I noticed something different, something quite remarkable. Not only sounds but also colors invaded my awareness. Yes, there was no way to deny it, the tap on the table gave off a red color. A self-described modern mystic at High Existence espouses the claim that it’s possible to grow into synesthesia, queues up a few...
Testing the Colors of Love
In a 2004 article in Cognitive Neuropsychology, Jamie Ward of University College London reported on emotionally mediated synaesthesia — and studied a specific emotion-to-color and word-to-color individual, “GW.” One of the more important things done in this study was to test GW for synesthetic consistency versus a group of controls. By doing so, Ward worked out what is probably a...
Things Synesthetes Say
That was the problem. Facebook’s colors feel horrible to me. I’m stuck with it because you can’t change it, and the only thing worse than that is if people could change it. Remember MySpace? That was a nightmarish orgy of terrible sensations.
Soundscapes 2 ♦ Ubiquity by The Orb on...
In The Family, Act II
After the conversation with my parents about synesthesia, I created their color palettes and puzzled over them. Seeing all their colors together before me, I felt that I were seeing them for the first time. Here’s Mom and Dad, I told Sam. Wow! he said. Your dad is “Solar” by Eastern Sun. Your mom is Tosca’s “Busenfeund”. I blinked. I am a synesthete and I...
I first discovered COLOURlovers when I was looking for a way to easily present color palettes for a web development project, and I have since used it as a way to catalogue people’s colors. One problem: The colors I see for someone are not always the same colors on the screen. The colors from the application always have a gloss, while sometimes someone is a soft matte.
HuffPo: Sonified, Synesthesia, And Livepaintings →
Perry Hall is an architect and an artist. He is also a synesthete who developed an application that turns what you see into what you hear. The app is called Sonified, and is available for both the iPhone and iPad for the price of $1.99. While Sonified turns images into sound, Hall does the opposite. He doesn’t paint directly what he sees from synesthesia. Instead, he takes inspiration from...
Interview A Synesthete: Sam
Project Iris aims to showcase synesthetic art through the gallery but also synesthetic experiences through interviews! Every month, we will post an interview with a volunteer synesthete. If you would like to be interviewed, drop a note in the box with your contact information. How did you know you have synesthesia? I learned about it when I bought and listened to the album Orblivion released in...
Synesthesia Research →
The person who runs Synesthete Snail has another synesthesia-related blog about the science behind it! (I foresee reblogging and/or link-pinching in the future.)
Soundscapes 1 ♦ Concept 16 by Kodomo on Still...
In The Family
Since synesthesia is hereditary, I asked my parents if anyone in the family also experience colors for people. Like seeing auras, I said. My father shook his head. My mother, however, asked if synesthesia could map colors onto sounds. Yes, I replied. People to colors is just one form out of many. She nodded. I hear colors in people’s voices. What color is mine? I asked. Burgundy. My jaw...
The Shape Of Sounds →
Iris will not be the first gallery of synesthetic art. There is already an online series of mixed media paintings by sound → color synesthete, musician, and artist Timothy B Layden. He explored what sounds make interesting visual effects, invented soundscapes, and then painted how they appeared in his eyes.
LA Times: The Blended Senses Of Synesthesia →
Almost a month ago, the LA Times published a story about synesthesia and how research on the condition can lead to insights into other mental and neurological disorders. One example is David Eagleman’s interest in the possible link between autism and synesthesia: Researchers in Eagleman’s lab are also studying sensory processing dysfunction (SPD), which is a hallmark characteristic...
A Synesthetic World →
There is already a great blog about all things synesthesia run by a sound → color synesthete. Not only does he link to art and articles, he also answers questions and encourages others to contribute!
Iris Of The Rainbow
Most people experience the sensory world as a place of orderly segregation. Sight, sound, smell, taste and touch are distinct and separate: A Beethoven symphony is not pink and azure; the name Angela does not taste like creamed spinach. Yet there are those for whom these basic rules of the senses do not seem to apply. They have a rare condition called Synesthesia, in which the customary...