Something that’s interested me since I first heard about it is synaesthesia.  Synaesthesia is kind of the crossing of senses (, says it’s, “the subjective sensation of a sense other than the one being stimulated”); being able to hear colors, taste sounds, things like that.  I read a short story over the summer, “The Empire of Ice Cream” by Jeffrey Ford that was about a person with synaesthesia (it’s a good story, I recommend reading it).  I really find synaesthesia fascinating.  I think it’d be neat to experience it.  Maybe not all the time, since I’m sure it can be overwhelming, but just for a little while.  I guess maybe all people have the capacity to experience synaesthesia but only some actually access it or something.  I’m not really sure of the science behind it.  We can all experience a sort of digital synaesthesia.  You can make an animation that syncs colors to sounds/music, but I don’t think it’s really the same.  In a way I think we’ve kind of some to expect digital synaesthesia.  We don’t really like watching things without some sort of sound.  It’s not quite the same with music, but I think we do enjoy visuals to go with our sound, or else music videos wouldn’t have taken off.  It’s still not the same as the real thing though. 

            I wonder if aesthetics would be a lot different if more people had synaesthesia.  Beauty is a universal thing, even if it is subjective (or not, depending on who you talk to).  But it seems that synaesthesia is a more personal thing, since (I think) everyone’s synaesthesia is different.  With beauty, even if you don’t find the same thing as someone else beautiful, you can still say, “I appreciate that you find that beautiful and can see why you might, even though I don’t.”  With synaesthesia I can’t really see being able to say, “I can see why that painting tastes like strawberries to you.”  I think it would be so much harder to talk about art is everyone had synaesthesia, because every piece would be so different for everybody.  I realize that even now everyone experiences pieces differently, but it would be even more extreme.  It’s one thing for a song to make one person feel good and another feel sad, it’s another for a song to make one person see blue and another taste pineapple.  As it is now even though on the surface art affects our senses, at the heart of it, it really effects our emotions, whereas with synaesthesia I think it would stay more with the senses. 

Vivaldi by Anne Salz, 2003

I found this Googling “synesthesia in art.”  According to the Wikipedia page I took it from, Anne Salz is a Dutch musician and visual artist, who perceives music in colored patterns.  This is a painting she made from listening to Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins.