Do you see sound and hear colour?

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Synaesthesia Workshop Interactive artwork, Lochaber High School June 2016

Lochaber High School students Maddie Lennon, William Landsborough and Jennifer McKenna worked with Room 13 Artist in Residence Audrey O Brien to present Synaesthesia, an interactive art workshop using new digital media to explore Synaesthesia, a condition that can make you see sounds as colours.

Taking over a corridor on the second floor of Lochaber High School, the artists splashed colour into the minds of a lunchtime audience. The school is newly refurbished and it is forbidden to hang anything onto the walls. Artist Audrey has been encouraging the group to take ownership of the white spaces and propose changes through visual art ideas and events. This temporal event was the outcome of the Ideas group which developed through a series of quick lunchtime conversations, building tours and ideas sharing.

Room 13's Synaethesia Workshop - see album Room 13's Synaethesia Workshop - see album

The idea came from one of the artist’s experience of synaesthesia. The artists used technology new to the school – a creative electronic tool with touch sensors to present this invention to their audience. Four musical tracks were selected from Maddie’s personal collection and uploaded to a touch board. People touched the interactive surface to set off an audio sensor. MP3 files were played and the audience was to select a colour to represent what they “saw” when listing to the four musical tracks.

Pupils and teachers found common ground in thinking and discussing colour and sound perception, and the following comments were made in response to the piece:

Interesting project – I could “see” shape easier for violin but colour for the others.

Bill Mackenzie

 

Very interesting, I loved the idea of this.

Siobhan

 

I seemed to relate a colour to trumpets and violins which coincided with someone else’s’ choice → weird!

K McIntyre

 

I was most confident of the drums – pink and red and pulsing. The violin was pretty intensely purple too. Very cool, thought provoking project!

S Carruthers

 

Very interesting and fun. Have been using colour as a relaxation tool, related to memory and the colour → related to a shape and sound.

L Blair

 

Interesting, weird, but very easy to see colours – so cool!

Russell

 

This is a great idea! it really made me think about the sounds.

Lucy Fraser

 

Love the idea of this and its a great way to try and understand how some people see, hear, touch and smell the world.

Anna MacDonald

 

Its really strange but it shows how certain colours mean different things to people.

Leo Douglas

 

Room 13's Synaethesia Workshop - see album

Credits:

Artists: Maddie Lennon, William Landsborough and Jennifer McKenna

Photography & Film: Jennifer McKenna, Zuzia Kruk, Audrey O’Brien

Technology: Bare Conductive Touch Board

Tracks:

Tame Impala – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards

Wynton Marsalis – I Can’t Get Started

Rimsky-Korsakov – Scheherazade- IV. Festival at Baghdad – The Sea – The Ship Breaks [Part 4-4]

Spirited Away OST One Summers Day

Audrey O Brien was appointed by Room 13 International in 2015/16 to work with pupils and staff to develop and deliver a series of cross curricular projects and creative engagements at Lochaber High School. Audrey’s role, and the many projects she effected during her residency with Room 13, was made possible with project funding from Highland Youth Arts Hub and supported by Creative Scotland’s Time to Shine initiative.

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Notes:

Sound-to-Color Synesthesia

When sound triggers the visualization of colored, generic shapes, sound-to-color synesthesia is at play. For certain people, the stimuli are limited, and only a few types of sounds will trigger a perception. However, there are cases wherein many different sounds trigger color visualizations. Usually, the perceived colors appear in generic shapes – squares, circles, etc. http://www.synesthesiatest.org/types-of-synesthesia

Synaesthesia is a condition where a sensation in one of the senses, such as hearing, triggers a sensation in another, such as taste. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/synaesthesia/Pages/Introduction.aspx

The five most common forms are:

  • Grapheme-colour synaesthesia: You see colours in letters and numbers
  • Chromesthesia: You see colours in the sound of, for example, music playing, doors opening or even cars honking
  • Lexical-gustatory synaesthesia: When you hear words, you taste them
  • Spatial sequence synaesthesia: You visualise numerical sequences, like dates and times, as points in space
  • Ordinal linguistic personification: You see distinct personalities in ordered sequences like days and months

Read more at http://www.nme.com/blogs/nme-blogs/do-you-have-synaesthesia-a-look-at-the-condition-that-means-lorde-sees-sound-in-colour-14639#AySjRPpqDidH0QjO.99

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