SYNESTHESIA: THINKING IN COLOUR

Synesthesia/ˌsɪn.əsˈθiː.ʒə/

a condition in which someone experiences things through their senses in an unusual way, for example by experiencing a colour as a sound, or a number as a position in space, – says Cambridge dictionary. 

In my words: I see numbers and letters (and words combined from these letters, and bigger numbers made of smaller ones) in colours. Those colours are a constant thing, they have never changed since I was a little girl. For example, days of the week or names have a certain colour for me. Numbers, age, years – all in colour. Here’s just a mega brief illustration of my personal colour code:

I didn’t know that it was something extraordinary until I was about 20. I realised that most of the people around me had no idea what I meant by asking ‘What colour is Friday?’. I thought that everybody had certain colours for the days of the week in their head. But they didn’t. That’s when I started reading about this ‘condition’ and found out that only about 2% of the population is gifted with it. Synesthesia may come in different shape and forms. Sounds, music, touch will also form a colour picture for me. I guess I have a full-colour synesthesia, covering all my senses and feelings.

I had no idea what to do with this until recently. Well, I kind of was using colour schemes at school to help me to remember stuff (unconsciously). Colours would also help me to remember a new name and save me some confusion: I would see somebody I met before, having no idea about their name, but then remembering that the name was of a certain colour and it would come to me. But when I was studying in Berlin I finally realised that I could use this crazy gift in art making. To be honest, I haven’t done much with it yet, but I keep on thinking on various concepts and how I could approach it. Synesthesia is a very subjective matter, so, I guess its best use will be in creating art rather than suggesting colour solutions for clients.

I have seen a book by Vladimir Nabokov, who also was a synesthete: he drew an alphabet according to his colour vision.

I did something similar once: I made a book based on my synesthesia. The best part of it was writing a text and colouring (bloody manually!) every letter with its colour, creating a colourful pattern from a plain text. Check it out in my portfolio section!

I am curious to work with this special gift more and to explore my artistic abilities using this colour vision. If you wonder how the thoughts look in my head, I think it is a constant LSD party in there :) But I guess everything that I am creating is based on synesthesia anyway, but I want to give it a more conceptual turn. Stay tuned for the new posters arriving soon in the [coming soon] shop!

Would you like to see more posts like this? Please let me know in the comment section!

xx, love, Liza

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