Synesthesia

Since I began my career as a composer, the concept of synesthesia has played a central role in my creations. Although I do not have synesthesia I believe it is possible to establish a conscious connection between the senses. Until now I have worked on four different projects in which I have approached synesthesia in different ways. With Degustem Joan Brossa (2016) and Taste & Sound (2017), I was approaching the relation between taste and hearing. The third project I did was Touch & Hearing (2018). The most recent project, Synesthesia (2019), is a culmination of all the previous works. An almost complete multi-sensorial experience, Synesthesia puts together the senses of touch, smell, taste, and hearing in one performance.

Degustem Joan Brossa (2016) was performed in Fundació Eina, Barcelona, as a degustation menu for a special group of guests specialized on gustatory aesthetics. In this menu, each dish was inspired by a selection of visual poems by the Catalan artist Joan Brossa. The menu consisted of 5 dishes which were translated to 5 musical pieces. Those dishes were:  Ou fumat amb clau i pa sobre A (smoked egg with key and bread on top of A), Quatre daus travessats (four slashed dices), Poma amb poma (appel with appel), Gel sobre espina (ice on top of thorn), and Cafè i sucre (coffee and sugar)The music was composed according to the characteristics of the dishes, including its colours, flavours, the temperature of each dish, and all the subjective impressions they triggered on me.

Taste & Sound (2017), was a small experiment, with the aim to establish a connection between food and sound textures. The experiment was presented as a game to the audience. There were 4 musical pieces and 4 small dishes, with contrasting ingredients. After the musical performance, the audience had to guess which piece was composed for each specific dish. At the end of the game, there was a short discussion between the audience and the artistic team in order to discuss the possible different interpretations of the experiment. 

Touch & Hearing (2018), was another multi-sensory experiment done in collaboration with the musicians of the Hermes Ensemble, Antwerpen, Belgium.  I did a selection of objects which were interesting for its textural qualities and gave them to the musicians while they had their eyes closed. After touching them they were asked to represent the tactile qualities of those objects into sound. They improvised, trying to simulate the tactile texture with the musical texture, and that musical material was used to compose my final piece. 

Synesthesia (2019) was a 1-hour performance for the senses, in which music is linked to a particular object, scent or ingredient. During the performance, the audience was blindfolded and invited to discover the identity of various objects using only the senses of touch, smell, and taste. The music is complementing the full experience of each object. It is also a unique opportunity for the audience to try to link all their senses together except the sense of sight. Without the possibility to see, people can concentrate more on their inner perception, and on the other senses. 

 

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And a very short video of the performance at Zaal 100 in Amsterdam. A hint of how the Synaesthesia project looks like.