Hearing colors, coloring sounds – Developing awareness of synesthesia phenomenon

Hearing colors, coloring sounds – Developing awareness of synesthesia phenomenon

Author: Dyah Ratna Permatasari – DoctoRabbit Science Inc., Indonesia

Andra Semesta – DoctoRabbit Science Inc.

Normally, when we hearing sounds we just use our ear to sense it. But not for a synesthete, people who possess a synesthesia ability. It is a psychological phenomenon to sense something using two or more senses, i.e. hearing colors, colorful numbers, tasting shapes, smelling sounds, etc. It comes from Greek words: syn means together and aesthesis means perception, therefore synesthesia could also be called joined perception. It is a multisensory connection in the brain.

The second writer of this presentation, Andra Semesta, is a synesthete artist who make a painting while listening music. The colors he chose depend on the music he heard. Scientifically, Isaac Newton has described that “the distribution of white light in spectrum of colors is analogous to the musical distribution of tones in an octave” (Campen, C.V., Hidden Sense: Synesthesia in Art and Science, 2008). Perhaps that what Vincent van Gogh, the famous painter, perceived when he comparing the sounds of piano keys with colors.

We tried to bring this interesting phenomenon to public through a fun live painting, where the audiences were encouraged to make painting while listening music. Audiences were varied from kindergarten students to adult. They tried to connect the music they heard with colors and shape they drew. They can feel to be a synesthete although they may not.

This program’s objective is to give awareness of synesthesia phenomenon that is not well known in Indonesia. Synesthesia is real and we should aware that it is a hidden sense. It is not a disease, in fact it is a gifted ability.

Keywords: synesthesia, perception, multisensory

The author has not yet submitted a copy of the full paper.

Presentation type: Visual talk
Theme: Society
Area of interest: Applying science communication research to practice