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  • Writer's pictureDiana de Avila

Synesthesia Provoked by Sound

I believe that I have finally unlocked one of the keys to my synesthesia which causes the phenomenon of colorful shapes floating just a bit beyond the tip of my nose. The secret driver is SOUND! This has happened hundreds of times for me and provided the inspiration for most of my art. When I first starting creating, all the art was created in an environment with music always playing. In fact, the first year I looped the same 4-5 songs over and over (for hours on end as I created). At one point my housemate wondered if there was something wrong with me - she truly wondered if I was having memory issues or if I was aware I was looping my music. :) Certain elements of the songs I played just seemed to evoke shapes and colors - nothing to do with the lyrics and all to do with certain sounds. When I am inspired by a song, it gets repeated over and over while I create. I'll have to see if other sounds - non music - can evoke the same thing. I'll have to experiment with some of my favorite instrumental music and see what arises! One thing I will say, my ears are filled with non-stop ringing (high pitched squealing) and I wear double hearing aids to try to mask this. As you might imagine, it makes me a little crazy at times. Tinnitus can be a disabling condition in it's own right and for me it is just one other part of my brain injury / neurological condition that can interfere with normal functioning. The ringing can be very distracting ... perhaps the music has become my mask and allows true creativity to flow?

Since this revelation feels like a new discovery for me, I am going to work on biohacking my artistic experience and expression and see if I can begin to drive what I create through music. A fun experiment and perhaps a new chapter in my art!

Below is one piece (I am sharing the motion version but it was originally created as a fractal manipulation still) that I can pair with a song. I'm going to begin sharing the "synesthetic song" as part of my art if the experience is clear cut for me and I can pair art with sound. You'll notice that the name of the song "Stars in the Sky" and my art "A Crowded Galaxy" share a similar cosmic theme in their title, essence. I realize that it is certain parts of this song and its instrumentation that drive the shapes, not the lyrics. Most times, I am unaware of the lyrics and caught within a few measures of an interesting melody. It will be interesting to experiment!

Dr. Darold Treffert had put me in touch with an expert in synesthesia and the co-author of Jason Padgett's book "Struck by Genius", Maureen Seaberg. I'm going to reach out to her and share my discovery and see if she has any insights. It certainly can't hurt. I am still awed and amazed by my own savant experience and personal and physical transformation. I am constantly on a search to understand my experience and what it means, how it is expressed. I feel I have unlocked a key element with this discovery!

"A Crowded Galaxy" - one piece I can actually pair a song with.

Synesthetic Song - "Stars in the Sky" by Kari Jobe

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