'Collide' Mimics the Experience of Synesthesia

By: Joey Haar - Sep 20, 2016
References: onformative & fastcodesign
Collide, a multimedia art installation by Onformative, attempts to tackle the tremendously tricky task of providing people with a subjective perceptual experience that only impacts a lucky few. The project, which consists of a gigantic color display and speaker set-up, is a theoretical attempt to make tangible the experience of synesthesia.

Synesthesia is a neurological quirk that impacts a small percentage of people in which certain senses get crossed and combined. For instance, a synesthete might taste shapes, feel smells, or, as in the case of Collide, see sounds as colors.

To try to engender this audio-visual synesthesia, Onformative collaborated with Dolby to use its San Francisco space's 54-channel speaker system. Having created a series of visuals that look something like abstract Impressionism, Onformative commissioned a troupe of cellists to create an original composition based on the images. That composition and its accompanying visuals are on display in the Dolby Laboratories.