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Abstract

SYN is an art installation in the physical shape of an igloo, and an immersive experience, which takes place within it. The project combines a unique audio-visual language and multisensory art to create a sensory journey.
The purpose and aesthetic of SYN are to represent the lived experience of the neurological condition, synesthesia, and to awaken sensory perception.
From the Greek ‘syn-‘, together and ‘-aesthesis’, feeling, perceiving, synaesthesia is the union, mixing, of the senses. SYN combines art, science
and technology to offer an experiential journey into this different reality - it allows the audience to see and feel as a synesthete, offering a space and time to experience, fully and freely, a new perspective on perception, sensory awareness and neurodiversity.

Concept

The latest psychological and neuroscientific research shows that synaesthesia as a condition is helpful for us to understand how we perceive the world through our senses - by comparing the neurotypical and the neurodiverse, we can investigate both typical and atypical perceptions. However, understanding is not enough. We believe that we need to learn about
different realities through lived experience to be able to empathise with them. So far, the neurodiversity discourse has been predominantly touching the educational and workplace environments with fact-based, scientific - and sometimes quite de-humanising - data about the different conditions. We feel that by creating an experience in first-person, where every audience member is invited to a personal rendezvous with the condition, we can open a dialogue with neurodiversity. To achieve this new connection, we need to guide the audience to their senses. Nowadays sensory perception is weakened; we have been desensitised and numbed to most sensory experiences due to the constant sensory overload on social media, TV, advertising, and even in schools and workplaces. However, scientific research on the senses is expanding, and researchers are talking about more senses than most people know about. According to new studies, our senses are not 5, but at least 7, including interoception and proprioception*. These are intrinsically highly associative senses (e.g. visualising the location of our body in the space); therefore, it is more natural and spontaneous for people to experience them in association with other senses. Therefore, we incorporated them into the SYN design and experience to facilitate the building of associations between the feelings. We believe that connecting to our feelings is the first step to reconnecting with ourselves.

 


*Interoception = sense that involves internal states, such as hunger, thirst, etc...
* Proprioception = sense of our bodies in relation to the space around us

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