Synesthesia

How can men mediate on that which they cannot understand?

This article has an accompanying online letter-to-colour generator, click here to try it.

One idea I’ve been exploring recently is that is of synesthesia. Initially I wanted to go some way towards recreating the experience of synesthesia itself, however since each person experiences this quite differently I ultimately came to the conclusion that this would not be a valid goal. Instead I started to consider loss of context as a more general theme, in particular the idea that the way in which information is understood is very heavily influenced by the way in which it is presented.

I chose a different colour to represent each letter of the alphabet and then wrote a program that would replace each letter of a sentence or paragraph with a square of the appropriate colour. No information is lost, if one understands the meaning of each shade as a letter then it is even possible to read the resulting image. However, the alteration of context means the information is no longer readily intelligible in the sense that was originally intended. Some colours will however appear more frequently than others and because one letter represents one block of colour the visual rythmn of the words themselves is preserved; I think this is an interesting way to appreciate an aspect of written communication that we rarely notice.

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