For someone with colored-letter synesthesia, these kids’ toys are usually a frustrating thing to look at, because they generally get my colors completely wrong. So when I see one that gets more than a couple of letters even close to correct, I notice. This one nails the colors of B, P, S and Y, and is well within reason on M, R, and W. Given that orange and pink aren’t in this set’s pool of colors to choose from, even the E and the U are pretty close. Would I buy this set because of that? No, but it did make me stop and take a second look…
Christian Faur is an artist who makes these wonderful image-sculptures out of custom-cast crayons. The work itself is very Rungy Chungy and appealing to the eye. And Faur apparently has a thing for certain mathematicians. But it also turns out that he’s encoded synesthetic messages into several of his pieces:
Further, I have developed a mapping system that translates the English alphabet into twenty six discrete colors and I use these crayon “fonts” to add words and language to each of the pieces in the show… The direct representation of language in each piece further imbues the works with meaning and brings an aspect of color into each composition reminiscent of DNA coding. The alphabetic key at the lower left of each panel allows the viewer to interpret the individual words written throughout the various panels.
I gather that Faur does not actually have synesthesia himself, but this system makes perfect sense to me. If only he’d chosen his colors differently, I might be able to read the text straight up without the key! (Although it’s pleasing to note that his C, E, and Z are all perfect matches for my own.)
Common Letters And Numbers Are Brighter, Study Suggests. Makes perfect sense to me!
I’ve always found it curious that the five highest-scoring Scrabble letters (K, J, Q, X and Z) all happen to be different shades of brown in my synesthetic map of the alphabet. Now there’s a new study by Daniel Smilek et al that suggests that this may be a pretty common phenomenon: “The More Common the Digit, the More Radiant the Color in Grapheme Color Synaesthesia”. How cool! This is the same Smilek who distinguished “projector” from “associator” synaesthetes in 2004.
(thanks to James for the link!)
Here’s a fun idea: a set of colorful wooden blocks that can be rearranged into English words and their equivalent characters in Japanese/Chinese Kanji: Toypography. I especially like the above example because three of the four letters are exactly the right color!
(via Everyone Forever, via Boing Boing.)
The Heather Gold Show was a total blast– great host, fun guests, warm audience! Too bad Enzo scampered out before we could get him in this picture.
Update: Heather has put up the audio podcast, as well as some discussion and links on her blog. Feel free to join the conversation!
I’ll be making an appearance on the Heather Gold Show next Friday, April 13th, to talk about synesthesia and perception. Also attending will be my dear friend Colleen Silva, whose synesthesia is completely unique. Should be a very interesting show. If you’re in San Francisco, swing on by and check us out! (Details after the jump…)
Continue reading Heather Gold Show, April 13
If you’ve spent any time wandering around my rambling home page, you might know that I have colored-letter synesthesia. For years I’ve been looking for ways to convey to other people what the experience is really like. This is not a simple task, because the colors are kind of dynamic: they change depending on a number of factors.
One of those factors is memory, and another one is attention. If I glance at a word once in passing and try to remember it later, chances are I’ll remember only some basic information about it: the length of the word, and the dominant color (which is usually, but not always, determined by the first letter.) Remembering the whole word will mean trying to remember the specific colors of all the letters, which then, sometimes, allows me to remember the letters themselves.
To help illustrate what this feels like, I built a little Flash applet. As you type words into it, they appear with each letter in its proper color. But as time passes and memory fades, the letters are replaced by blocks of color that approximate what little I might remember. To refresh your memory, you can pay attention to the words by moving your mouse towards them.
I actually wrote this almost two years ago, but somehow forgot to put it up online. (Another case of memory fading as time passes.) I think I had some notion about making it better, or adding punctuation or something. But a random email reminded me of it, and I realized nobody cares about punctuation these days anyway. So here it is. Enjoy!