S I G H T
Having discussed the differences in colour spectra across species in this class, I became interested in the idea of creating art to cater to different species. Although I can only create human art, it is a little anthropocentric to assume it is only for humans to appreciate.
I have decided to treat my friend and fish, Denise, to her very first art exhibition. According to one possibly credible resource, most fish see predominantly in greens, blues, and reds. I therefore selected these as my palate. My next consideration was the scenes my fish may enjoy. I decided she may feel intellectually excluded by abstract art (she hasn’t had an opportunity for a contemporary art education), and possibly a little forlorn if I was to show her images of lakes and rivers. I settled on deserts, since they are dynamic and would provoke more fascination than nostalgia for my friend, because a fish has no interest in travelling to dry places, but being a fancy girl she undoubtably would appreciate a lovely rendering of such a place.
S O U N D
It was difficult for me to mentally concoct something sound-related for this assignment. I have been thinking a lot about colour since this class began. I realized that there is a sound-colour connection that exists in my own life.
I have been playing piano for virtually my entire life. While I cannot pretend to be a musician of any consequence, I am moved by the sound of the keys. When I was a child memorizing scales, I intrinsically began associating colours with certain notes. This can be referred to as synesthesia, although my association is something I carry but do not always bring to the forefront of my mind.
Synesthesia can be separated into two categories.
- Projective. The projective synesthete has tangible sensory experiences when presented with stimulation to another sense. This is the person that may literally see a kaleidoscope of colour when listening to Rachmaninoff or taste strawberries when they hear an A# and beetroot when they hear a triad in G.
- Associative. This less glamorous version is the one that I experience. The associative synesthete draws a mental connection between a stimulus and another seemingly unrelated experience. When I hear a C note, my world does not literally become soaked in yellow but I can’t help but picture a yellow piano key. To me the C will always be a yellow key, D is undeniably light green, and F is purple, but less purple than F#.
This article from Mental Floss goes into greater detail describing the condition.
For the sound segment of this project I wanted to share my personal experience with others. With great focus I created a colour chart comprised of tones similar to the ones I have for notes. Unfortunately due to the threshold between mind and my hand, the colours are not totally accurate. I did the best I could! Excuse the halting performance. I have stage fright.
T A S T E / S M E L L
I collaborated with Katrina and Keiro for this segment. We were inspired by the Gather walk and wanted to create some of our own libations. Many of the plants we explored with Danielle were fragrant flowers that we associate more directly with olfactory enjoyment. During the workshop we were taking bites out of flowers, sampling dandelion brownies, and sipping cedar tea. I was surprised at how well the flavour of a blossom could compliment its aroma.
My contribution to this collaboration was lavender milk punch . For this I harvested some lavender from the communal section of the campus community garden and soaked it in hot water and left it overnight. Then I added it to a mixture of heavy cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla and chilled it. The full recipe can be found on Gather Victoria’s website.
I was influenced by the Gather walk we took as a class partially because of the awareness surrounding waste and conservation, but also because of the largely untapped flavour resources. Danielle showed us so many plants I had experienced through my nose and eyes. It was like discovering several new spices I had never encountered.
The plan for our presentation was to have people smell the beverages and make guesses on what they contained. Our class tasting went well aside from the fact that I announced pre-collective-sniff that my concoction was lavender milk. Kind of ruined the guessing game. It was interesting to hear people’s guesses for Kat’s tea (overwhelmingly incorrect) and for Keiro’s cocktail (also incorrect). Not to brag but my lavender milk was very popular.
T O U C H
For my imaginary touch project, I would like to take inspiration from Fear Factor, and from tactile artist Andrew Myers (read about him here). Myers creates textures works using screws that are intended to invite the viewer / enjoyer to a tactile experience.
Fear Factor, like Myers, utilizes tactile sensation in many episodes, but to a different end. In Fear Factor, participants are made to put themselves in very uncomfortable tactile situations. My favourite instance of this is the episode where participants are required to grab electric eels from one container with their bare hands and transfer them to another container. The people get shocked every time. It is absolutely terrible.
I think for my unrealized sense project, I would propose to build a series of immersion tanks similar to sensory deprivation tanks, inviting participants in. The tanks would feature a variety of sensations, filled with the following things:
2. a lot of fish.
5. a small electric current
The purpose of the installation would be to present participants visually with sensations that are perhaps not enticing, but interesting, and encourage immersion into a surrounding aside from air, clothing, water, or bedsheet. I have heard that autistic children sometimes suffer from a heightened awareness of their clothing, that is, the fabric on their skin is irritating to them. Most of us are not so aware of this unless our clothing is too hot or too tight. Like the mimosa pudica learning to ignore repetitive stimuli, we are acclimatized to our tactile environment. This is designed to thrust the participant into, in a sense, another universe. Some may be more comfortable than others, but the participant’s goal would be to get used to the environment and acclimate to the new surrounding. I think laying in tapioca could be very relaxing.