Saturday, September 30, 2006

i'm interested in baudelaire's essay "the modern public and photography", in which he argues against photography as an imaginative art, an invention that was just a picture of reality that lacked the "spiritual momentum" provided by one's creativity. his main concern with the coming of photography was that people would be desensitized by false illusions of images and that mimesis would become the standard in judging art.
there is this other photographer, hugh welch diamond, that attempted to capture in photographs the essence, the physical qualities of mental illnesses carried in mentally ill people; he would have these portraits of people: depressed, schizophrenic, rabid, etc. kind of people. he wanted to use photography as a psychiatric tool to create an archive of portraits, whose subjects were the mental illnesses and not the people carrying them, in the hopes of understanding the physical trait of the illness manifest in appearance. with only my visual sense in examining these photographs, it's interesting to get a feel of these people and their minds while your other senses are blocked; to see a portrait of someone and truly understand their sheer rage, or complete and utter desolation, without any interaction. the photographs that were before me exist as a memory of the subjects' sensations, accessed solely through my eyes. i like that the photographer was so interested in this memory of mental illness, an image of the illness that is sustainable in any person with the mental illness.
i'd like to explore this idea of sense restriction, how the lack of one sense might enhance another, or how it could even perhaps perform its own duties through another sense. for example, helen keller, who, blind and deaf, transfers the necessities of those senses into touch by learning braille. does the lack of those senses actually bring out some new aspect of touch that would normally be muted out? there exists in this case a crossing of the senses, despite the lack of some senses. thus she learned to "see" by feeling what was in front of her, "hear" through touching words in braille, her hands become her eyes and ears.
In briefly reading the case of Vladimir Nabokov, of his condition of seeing wrong colors on alphabet blocks, im currently looking into the scientific explaination behind these cases as well as synaesthesia in general. I've come acrossed some interesting experiments on various synesthetes, experiments on the perceptual reality of synesthetic colors
I am interested in investigating pitch recognition and cross sensory perceptions that occur in cases of absolute pitch.

I am additionally interested in the high frequency of cases in which people affected by autism and Williams syndrome experience perfect pitch.

Friday, September 29, 2006

tarkovsky polaroids...alex and zach...

I am interested in looking at the spaces where ritual is revealed, from the mundane rituals of eating to the more rarified ones of religious ceremonies. I will also be looking at the notion of the personal ritual versus a more communal experience. Looking at the integration of the different senses used for the rituals and the spaces where the rituals occur. Some examples if these might be the ritual of making a move in Fellini's 8 1/2 , bathing in the thermal baths at Vals by Peter Zumthor, living and working in the house of Walter Pichler, or the funeral procession with in a Cistercian Church. How does the ritual change the space and how does the space change the ritual? How their meanings change over time is also of interest to me. When do new rituals begin? What does the change in the space over time mean to the ritual? What is the relation of memory to ritual and space?

For my research topic, and as an addition to the sketch problem, I would like to investigate Scarpa’s use of water in his projects. Many of Scarpa’s project use water as an organizing/ compositional element, and/or a symbolic gesture. The garden of the Querini-Stampalia Foundation and The Brion Tomb are a couple examples where water and nature serve a specific purpose.

I think it’s important to examine not only Scarpa’s use of water and nature but other artists. Therefore as an aside, I would like to research various artists’ representations of nature and whether their work is created by a synasthetic experience. A few artists that come to mind from the impressionistic period and post-impressionistic period include Edvard Munch, Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet.

Dan writes...

This might be helpful to Brian who is working on the Scarpa and Klee connection(

"Art and Synesthesia:in search of the synesthetic experience"by Dr. Hugo HeyrmanLecture presented at theFirst International Conference on Art and SynesthesiaPrimer Congreso Internacional sobre Arte y Sinestesia25th - 28th July, 2005 - Universidad de Almería, Spain
I would like to investigate sound, more specifically relating to noise then to music. For example - Mark you talked about walking on metal to give warning that someone was approaching to those in front of you .

There are also Hebrew sources related to hearing that I'm looking into.

Dan- you asked us about early references to synesthesia. TheTorah talks about "...people seeing the sounds..." by Mount Sinai

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I would like to research and present the Fragment/Whole topic.

I'm probably going to muddle through this next bit because I really haven't figured out what to do with this yet. For some time now I have had an ongoing project/experiment/obsession with photographing "fragments and artifacts" found in situ with the intent to document a sense of place which is a sort of fiction written by the play between the memory and history imbedded in the artifacts and the memories and thoughts brought to the place by the viewer. After having walked countless miles (the visceral physical experience of walking being a crucial component to the experience of space) and taken hundreds of photographs, I find myself questioning what I once would have defined as landscape, and now consider it not to be a physical thing per se, but rather an experience closely tied to memory of walking through, or otherwise inhabiting, a place. Where this thought stands now, for me, is can I transfer this idea from a project that is about a way of seeing the world through the lens of camera to a way of making architecture?

"APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain."

-T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land

As per Marc and Dan's request...

I plan on researching the link between Confucius and Synaestesia. I'm familiar with some of Confucius's teachings (though not specifically from the Chung Yung) and am interested to see if there really is a correlation between those topics. From what I know, Confucius uses a lot of metaphors and poetics in his teachings. I wonder if that isn't often confused with synaestesia the same way a writer describing a character to have a dark voice may be, perhaps, incorrectly deemed a Synaesthete (?).

Taken from the online encyclopedia Wikepdia's description, "While cross-sensory metaphors are sometimes described as "synesthetic", true neurological synesthesia is involuntary and occurs in about four percent of the population (1 in 23 persons) across its range of variants (see Simner et al., in press). It runs strongly in families, possibly inherited as an X-linked dominant trait."
Dan's post with hot links...

This is a must read for the whole class:

Click here:
The Union of the Arts in the Theatrical Visions of the early Modern:From Kandinsky's Synaesthetic Theaterto the Mechanical Show
(El Lissitzky,, Moholy Nagy, Oscar Schlemmer, Walter Gropius and Frederich Kiesler, last two are architects)

The following are elective readings if you are interested:


NEUROHISTORY AND THE ARTSWas Kandinsky a Synesthete?Amy Ione1 and Christopher Tyler 21The Diatrope Institute, Berkeley, CA, USA, and 2Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, CA, USA

B Galeyev


Toward a Theory of Visual ConsciousnessS. Zeki1 and A. BartelsWellcome Department of Cognitive Neurology, Institute of Neurology, University College London


Other interesting projects
General issues on synesthesia
Letters + colours
Sounds and colours
Synesthesia + psychedelic drugs
Synesthesia in art
Scientific articles on the web
Visual music
Other websites
I would highly recommend you buy these. Especially the Pallasmaa reading.

The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses by Juhani Pallasmaa (Paperback - Jun 17, 2005)
Books: See all 755 items
Buy new: $30.00 In Stock
Used & new from $27.93

Atmospheres by Peter Zumthor (Hardcover - Jun 1, 2006)
Books: See all 755 items
Buy new: $40.00 $26.40 In Stock
Used & new from $21.95

Thinking Architecture: 2nd Expanded Edition by Peter Zumthor (Hardcover - Jun 1, 2006)
Books: See all 755 items
Buy new: $40.00 $26.40 Usually ships in 7 to 13 days
Used & new from $25.98
All should see this...especially those talking about time and weathering...

Free screening by Pratt Film Society

Rivers and Tides
by Thomas Riedelsheimer
Germany, 2001, 90 mins
Tuesday October 3, 5:30 pm
Higgins Hall Auditorium

Rivers and Tides; Andy Goldsworthy Working With Time is an extraordinary
journey into the world of Scottish sculptor Andy Goldsworthy.
A land-artist who uses materials from nature to make site-specific works,
Goldsworthy allows the elements to have the last say, as his ingenious
patterns of wood, leaves, stone, and ice move and erode over time. German
filmmaker Thomas Riedelsheimer followed the artist for over a year,
intimately documenting his improvisational process and capturing the serene
spectacle of his works and their delicate changes. Winner of the Golden Gate
Award at the San Fransisco International Film Festival, Rivers and Tides is
a poetic masterpiece.

Download posters and program notes:

On Tuesday, Oct. 3 Luke Bulman from Thumb Projects (see below) will giving a talk to all Degree Project Students. He will focus on graphiccommunication, organization, diagramming content, etc. I think this shouldbe very insighful, vis a vis the semester's research that culminates inthe production of an insighful booklet. The lecture will be in HHS 111from 9am-10 and is mandatory.

Thumb Projects is a graphic design office that works on both commissionedand speculative projects, usually in the area of design and culture. Ourwork frequently involves the development of material for publication; wegenerate the means to organize and communicate content, and then designthe vehicle for its distribution.Thumb was founded in 1998 by core members Luke Bulman and KimberlyShoemake. Thumb Projects LLC was established in 2004. Current members areLuke Bulman, Kimberly Shoemake-Medlock, Jessica Young.Our clients include: Aurora Picture Show, Brown University, DiverseWorks,Goethe Center for Central European Studies, Harvard University, InfernalBridegroom Productions, International Institute of Architecture, MarianaSammartino, Marion Cage, The Menil Collection, Rice Design Alliance, RiceSchool of Architecture, Stanford University, Sunset Settings, Universityof Michigan, William Stout Architectural Books.Luke has taught at the School of Architecture at Rice and University ofMichigan among others.
Please Respond to Dan's request to submit your research intentions on this blog.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Degree Project Research Fall 2006
Architectural Synaesthesia
Prof. Marc Schaut
Prof. Dan Bucsescu