Synesthesia: Seeing the World Differently

Abstract : In this paper I examine the processes and outcomes of using synesthesia in art. I discuss what might be different about artists with synesthesia and look at some types of experiences that synesthetes may have. I explore Heinrich Klüver’s Form Constants that can be found in the artworks of synesthetic artists. While Klüver discovered that synesthetes see things in common, I observe how they can be used in painting and also show what some common forms look like in video. Synesthesia shapes and informs one’s aesthetic, as well as contributes to the artistic process, even when one is unaware of one’s shared abilities. Because integrating one’s abilities into one’s work can invite challenges I discuss the impact that the art world can make. I also discuss how knowledge about synesthesia, or the lack of it, contributes to an artist’s work and an audience’s reaction to their artwork.

Keywords: synesthesia, synaesthesia, art, painting, colored music, colored sounds, colored touch, colored pain, artistic codes, video