Friday, March 18, 2011


I wonder what it would feel like if there were no custom boundaries between senses. If you could taste different tastes when hearing different words or smell different smells when seeing different images or see different colors when hearing different music.

People who have the ability called synesthesia feel the world just as described. Stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Over 60 types of synesthesia have been discovered, however there are not enough scientific studies about all of them. And even within one type of synesthesia, the perception varies among synesthetes ( for example not all synesthetes see number two as green, some perceive it as red, some as blue etc.).
Synesthesia can occur between any two senses, but there are extraordinary examples such as Solomon Shereshevsky who experienced synesthesia that linked all five senses. I saw a movie called Away with words ( San tiao ren ), directed by Christopher Doyle who was inspired by life of Solomon Shareshevsky. Movie has some stunning images and the main character's ability to associate words with objects, colors and smells got me to exploring this topic more thoroughly so this movie is my warm recommendation.
One of the common types of synesthesia is sound-color synesthesia. Just imagine seeing music in colors and shapes. There are many studies concerning visualizing music.
One of my favorite explorations on this subject is Olafur Arnald's video for a song Ljosid directed by Esteban Diácono.

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