Thursday, 14 October 2010

Feedback from synaesthetes

In the past week since coming back from Nashvile I've had some lovely e-mails from people who saw the Eyeful of Sound presentation or have seen the film as a result of it. It's particularly relevant to me to hear from synaesthetic people, because only they can tell me if it's 'right'.

There were a couple of other animators at the conference, one of whom, Chad Sikora, is working with artist Carol Steen in translating her synaesthetic reactions into moving image. Chad works in After Effects and the work Carol screened (both still and moving) was beautiful. There's an interesting article here, written by Julliard professor Greta Berman, about an exhibition of synaesthetic art which Greta co-curated and featured Carol's work. Greta gave a talk about the impact of the exhibition and screened some stunning work.

Another artist/animator was Carrie C. Firman, who is also synaesthetic. She has a wonderful website where she has a 'synaesthetic library' of flash animations which I really encourage you to have a look at - it's compelling and so 'right' even to a non-syaesthetic brain like mine!

Carrie's synaesthetic library. You can click on the imagesto see the movement and hear the trigger sound

Carrie kindly wrote me some feedback about my presentation and film, which I think is relevant about the representation of synaesthesia in general, not just in my work;

"I wanted to express again how much I enjoyed your presentation! I just watched the DVD twice and loved it! As I'm sure others told you at the conference, even though the animations may not be "ours," we synesthetes are drawn to authentic representations, and yours is certainly one.

For me, my pulse starts to quicken and I can't take my eyes off of it, and I get quite excited when I see something that is close to my own reaction. It was also exciting to watch in my peripheral vision, I think because when my concentrated focus was elsewhere it made the video be in a closer "place" to my mind's eye."

Wow. Really interesting about the peripheral vision. Before working on this project I thought that everyone's "mind's eye" was the same as mine, but I've realised that that isn't the case. Some synaesthetic people experience their reactions inside their heads (an associator) and some outside (a projector). Some I've spoken to have their reaction on, or in relations to, their body. One person I spoke to saw a musical note as a vibrating wooly blanket hovering at waist level. Another saw a note as a chocolatey silken swirl surrounding and enveloping their body.

At the conference we were all really struck by the intelligent questions and interesting point of view articulated by a 10 (nearly 11) year old boy called Thomas who was there with his mum, Cydne. Thomas has synaesthesia and is really interested in it so Cydne brought him to the ASA conference to find out more about it. What an amazing mum! She passed this on to me:

"Thank you for giving my son Thomas a copy of your gorgeous film.  He showed it to his class today.  Last year he tried to tell the kids in his class about synesthesia using mere language but seemed to fall short.  When he showed them your film today they seemed to get it.  They all asked tons of questions and thought it was very cool.  I just wanted to thank you again and let you know that it was really helpful to him and enlightening to everyone who saw it."

I'm so pleased that he liked the film and found it helpful, but seriously I think that Thomas will be telling us all about synaesthesia in another ten years or so. He is a super bright spark.


Libby said...

I just watched the trailer to your film after seeing it listed for the film festival this upcoming weekend. I am afraid I am not going to make it to the film on Sunday. Are you showing it more in New York at all or Pennsylvania before the 5th? I am off to Europe for 8 months, but I was so entranced by this trailer and the creativity of it, that I don't want to not see the whole thing! I really like what you did here, and the collaboration of senses is incredible.

Samantha Moore said...

Thanks Libby, that's great to hear!
I think the screening on Sunday is the only one in NY for a while, but if you want to see the whole thing on Vimeo you can, using the password "seeingsound'.

Have a great trip to Europe!

Samantha Moore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Libby said...

Hi Samantha! I'm kind of new to the Vimeo world (as in being a registered member). I couldn't find the password protected full video. Do you have any advice on how to find it? If you'd rather email me directions, my email is

I really appreciate you passing along the password for me to check it out. The trailer is really awesome.