The Hidden Sense: Synesthesia in Art and Science

The Hidden Sense: Synesthesia in Art and Science

by Cretien van Campen
     
 

ISBN-10: 0262220814

ISBN-13: 9780262220811

Pub. Date: 10/31/2007

Publisher: MIT Press

What does it mean to hear music in colors, to taste voices, to see each letter of the alphabet as a different color? These uncommon sensory experiences are examples of synesthesia, when two or more senses cooperate in perception. Once dismissed as imagination or delusion, metaphor or drug-induced hallucination, the experience of synesthesia has now been documented

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Overview

What does it mean to hear music in colors, to taste voices, to see each letter of the alphabet as a different color? These uncommon sensory experiences are examples of synesthesia, when two or more senses cooperate in perception. Once dismissed as imagination or delusion, metaphor or drug-induced hallucination, the experience of synesthesia has now been documented by scans of synesthetes' brains that show "crosstalk" between areas of the brain that do not normally communicate. In The Hidden Sense, Cretien van Campen explores synesthesia from both artistic and scientific perspectives.

Van Campen investigates just what the function of synesthesia might be and what it might tell us about our own sensory perceptions. He examines the experiences of individual synesthetes-from Patrick, who sees music as images and finds the most beautiful ones spring from the music of Prince, to the schoolgirl Sylvia, who is surprised to learn that not everyone sees the alphabet in colors as she does. And he finds suggestions of synesthesia in the work of Scriabin, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Nabokov, Poe, and Baudelaire.

What is synesthesia? It is not, van Campen concludes, an audiovisual performance, a literary technique, an artistic trend, or a metaphor. It is, perhaps, our hidden sense-a way to think visually; a key to our own sensitivity.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262220811
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
10/31/2007
Series:
Leonardo Books Series
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Series Foreword ix

Acknowledgments xi

1 Introduction 1

I Perception 9

2 Music Video Clip without TV 11

3 Children Draw Music 29

4 Visual Music 45

II Thought 63

5 Calculating in Colors 65

6 Poetic Synesthesia 91

7 Exploring Drug-Induced Synesthesia 103

III Insight 115

8 A Colored Brain? 117

9 Dark Double Bass and Purple Piano 135

10 The Hidden Sense 151

Bibliography 167

Name Index 179

Subject Index 183

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