Synesthesia Community News


The Valley of Astonishment
A play by Peter Brook and Marie-Helene Estienne


Now available from MacMillan Publishers:
downloadable electronic edition of
Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens:
How Synesthetes Color Their World

Versions also available for Kindle, Nook, Sony eBooks and Google (for iPad and smartphones)

Students at "Synesthesia in the Sierra Nevadas", Curso de Verano
25-30 July, 2011

Maria José de Córdoba at Curso de Verano
on types of synesthesia

New Book

Tasting the Universe
by Maureen Seaberg

New Book

The Shape of Sounds
by Timothy Layden

New Book

"Gekleurd verleden: Verhalen over het geheugen van de zintuigen"
(Colored Past: Tales of the memory of the senses)

by Cretien van Campen


New Painting by Timothy Layden

See magazine article and spread of synesthete photographer, Marcia Smilack’s reflection photos: “Wondrous Water Works” in magazine, Vineyard Style

Also See:

The Most Beautiful Painting You've Ever Heard
article in SEED Magazine leading off with Marcia's work and
Artist shares unique perception in photographs,
an Associated Press article in the Jan. 12, 2007 editions of the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Worcester Telegram, New York Newsday, Stamford Advocate and Akron Beacon Journal

Siri Hustvedt on Migraine Auras
New York Times Online

Synesthesia: Perspectives from Cognitive Neuroscience         


 New books on synesthesia...






                                          The Emerging Mind

The Emerging Mind...





















































Synesthesia Panel at Eyebeam: Center for Art & Technology, NY











  San Francisco Art Institute
Colloquium on synesthesia and the arts







  The Fourth Annual Conference of 

the American Synesthesia Association, Inc

Hosted by Lynn Robertson, 

University of California at Berkeley
















































Homage to Monet

by Marcia Smilack

featured in "The Synesthesia Evening"

on Martha's Vineyard































 Upcoming events

The Valley

a play by Peter Brook and Marie-Helene Estienne

“…a world where every sound has a colour. Where every colour has a taste. Where the number 8 is a fat lady.

…a kaleidoscopic journey into the wonders of the human brain, inspired by years of neurological research, truestories and Farid Attar’s epic mystical poem The Conference of the Birds.”

Theatre Bouffes du Nord, Paris

29 April—31 May 2014

Young Vic, London

20 June—12 July 2014

Theater for a New Audience, Brooklyn, New York

Fall 2014

Recent events

The International Congress Synesthesia, Almería 2012 (Sinestesia 2012) - the international congress on synesthesia, science and art - will take place on February 16-19, 2012 in Almeria Spain. For more information

Looking Back: 2011

The Ninth Annual Conference of the American Synesthesia Associationwill take place on October 14-16, 2011, at University of California, San Diego

Artecitta - Synesthesia in the Sierra Nevadas: Curso de Verano,
25-30 July, 2011,
La Tahá, Andalucía, Spain

In cooperation with University of Grenada: a wonderful “boutique” conference with excellent group of presenters and participants in the Sierra Nevada mountains of La Alpujarra, Andalucia, Spain.
More info on Synesthesia ArtForum blog.
"When We Were Children"





'Nocturn Verd' by Tim Layden

Towards a Science of Consciousness Conference,
Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden, May 1—8, 2011
Presentation on Synesthesia May 1
Article by the presenter, Maureen Seaberg, in Huffington Post

UK Synesthesia Association conference
University of East London
Fri 25 – Sun 27 March 2011
Keynote speaker, Edward Hubbard
Friday 25 March, 6 p.m.
 - public lecture open to all
Saturday 26 March - Keynote by Edward Hubbard
(open to conference attendees only)

Readings of Rimbaud, Baudelaire, Lyrics of Pharrel Williams, others, in New York City.... work-in-progress—stay tuned!

Looking Back: 2010

The Eighth Conference of the American Synesthesia Association took place on October 1- 3, 2010, at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee

April 2010

Read about the synesthesia jokes, wisdom, and people-to-remember at the "Towards a Science of Consciousness' conference:
(presentation team: Maureen Seaberg, Carol Steen and Pat Duffy)
Patricia Lynne Duffy gave plenary talk on synesthesia,
"Time is space and language is landscape: the variety of inner maps of the world"
Thursday 15 April, 8.30 a.m.
Sean Day, Patricia Lynne Duffy, Carol Steen,
Maureen Seaberg, moderator
"Why synesthesia matters"
Tueday 13 April, 9 a.m.

Art Blog: Blue Cats Mews

News from Artecittaexcellent publications from synesthesia conferences in Spain!

from Timothy Layden: Developing the shapes of Sounds

Looking Back: 2009

12 Aug 2009

National Public Radio, program about “Synesthesia” on  NPR’s HearSay with Cathy Lewis (with special thanks to intern Rachel Smith)

Interviews with Pat Duffy, Dr. David Eagleman

July 2009

National Public Radio, “The Art of Synesthesia” Sonoe Nakasone  interviews  Marcia Smilack and others

18 June —12 August

“White Noise”, a group exhibition featuring works that exist at the intersection of visual art, music and sound” from artists including Yoko Ono,     James Cohan Gallery , Chelsea 533 West 26th Street

June 15--July 20, 2009
Artist Erik Rosen's pictures: synesthetic translations of Beatles songs, "Hey Jude", "Imagine", Bob Dylan's "Positively 4th Street" and others into patterns of colored rectangles. 
Conde Nast Lobby Gallery Building, 4 Tmes Square, New York City

Looking Back: 2008

26—28 September, 2008
The seventh annual ASA conference hosted by McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

First International Week: Fine Art-music, creativity and Synesthesia - Experimental Didactic Workshops
Location: Castillo de los Velez, Cuevas del Almanzora, Almeria, Spain
Date: Second week of July, 2008
For more information, download this PDF flyer

Looking Back: 2007

Fall 2007

Cretien Van Campen, The Hidden Sense: Synesthesia in Art and Science (Leonardo Books) (Hardcover), MIT Press, 2007. 
To find out more or to purchase:
Read the book review in Nature:

Alexandra Dittmar (Ed.): Synästhesien. Roter Faden durchs Leben
Essen (Germany), Verlag Die Blaue Eule 2007.
More about it:
The E
nglish version of the book, which contains a variety of pieces written by synesthetes, is scheduled to be published in 2008.

March 2007
- a synesthesia evening
– at the Issue Project Room, Brooklyn, New York – Screening of film, Chroma by Carrie Schultz; reading of Blue Cats by Pat Duffy; presentations and panel discussion by Carol Steen, Greta Berman

January 26-28, 2007
American Synesthesia Association Conference

University of South Florida
St. Petersburg, FL

Looking Back: 2006

Paris, France, Dec. 8, 2006
Ed Hubbard gave a public lecture on synesthesia, and the neuroscience of synesthesia, in French, at the 'Cafe des Arts et Des Sciences', and you can find pictures and videos of that on their website at:   

The 2nd International Conference on Synaesthesia, University of Hannover, Germany, Dec. 1 - 3, 2006

Sept. 16, 6:00 pm
The Enchanted Garden: Conservatory for the Arts Presents Marcia Smilack, Reflectionist
529 Ethan Allen Highway (Route 7)
Ridgefield, CT 06877
Phone: 203-894-1987

May 19, 2006
Presentation by Pat Duffy and Natasha Lvovich,
On “Synesthesia, Language, and Language Learning”
12:00 noon-2:00 pm
New York University

Second Language Acquisition Research Circle

239 Greene St, New York NY 10003

Description: Synesthesia, a neuro-psychological blend of senses, may be an idiosyncratic way of coding and processing language. But could there be certain synesthetic elements in the way many of us process language?


March 27, 2006

Lecture by Dr. Hugo Heyrman

"The Art & Synesthesia Connection"
2-5 pm
at Transmedia: a postgraduate program in Arts + Media + Design, Hogeschool Sint-Lukas Brussels

A closer look at 'the synesthetic experience' in connection with the Arts, with a specific focus on the concept & theory of

New Synesthesia Magazine

Syn is a new online magazine for synesthetes from creator, Claire Mills:

New books

Synesthesia: Perspectives from Cognitive Neuroscience

eds., Lynn Robertson and Noam Sagiv, Oxford University Press, 2004 

A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness, V.S Ramachandran, 

Tussen zinnen: Synesthesie of hoe de zintuigen samenwerken (Between Senses), 2005 (in Dutch),  Crétien Van Campen

Looking Back: 2005

The Fifth Annual National Conference of

the American Synesthesia Association, Inc., will take place on October 28-30, 2005 at the
University of Texas Medical School, Houston

for details, go to


Saturday November 5 2005

Visual Art & the Brain: At the Interface of Art and Science
10 am--6 pm
CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY
one-day conference exploring the nature of the science-art interface with speakers V.S. Ramachandran (UCSD), Felice Frankel (MIT), Margaret Livingstone (Harvard)

August 31--September 3 2005

Another event is a 10 speaker symposium which will be a part of the 14th conference of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP). 
The conference took place from Wednesday August 31st to Saturday September 3rd, 2005, in Leiden, The Netherlands.
More details here:
Synaesthesia: Recent findings and future directions.
Symposium organizers:
Alicia Callejas, Noam Sagiv, Juan Lupianez.
P. Merikle, N. Sagiv, J. Simner, J. Ward, C. Spence, A. Henik, C. Mohr, A. Callejas, P. Weiss, E. Hubbard.

June 9 2005

Reboot Your Senses: A panel presentation on synesthesia in conjunction with the exhibition, "What sound does a color make?" at Eyebeam Art & Technology Center, New York, NY
with Dr. Larry Marks, Yale University Pierce Laboratory
Patricia Lynne Duffy, author, Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color their Worlds
Dr. Eugenie Shinkle, game theorist of Sega's Rez/K-Project
Lecturer in Photographic Theory and Criticism, University of
*Moderator Mary McGuiness, journalist/partner, Sputnik Inc.
Featuring digital interviews provided by Sputnik Inc., with:
*Richard E. Cytowic, MD, neurologist
*Hinderk Emrich, psychiatrist, University of Hanover Medical School

April 15--17 2005

UK Synaesthesia Association meeting  in London on 15-17th April 2005 (Department of Psychology, 26 Bedford Way, UCL).
Details can be found at:


March 28 2005

San Francisco Art Institute
Making Connections: Synesthesia and the Arts
A colloquium on synesthesia and the arts will be hosted by the San Francisco Art Institute on Monday, March 28th, 7:30 p. m.
Four speakers will shed light on their research into, and personal experiences with, the subject, and will offer an historical overview of how artists have used the idea to develop complex structural relationships in their work. Patricia Lynne Duffy, New York-based author of "Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens," will be joined by Christopher Tyler, Associate Director of the Smith Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, UCSF; visual artist Jeanne Foss; and composer/Art Institute professor Charles Boone for this lively presentation.


Looking Back: 2004


November 5 - 7 2004

Fourth Annual Conference of the American Synesthesia Association

University of California at Berkeley, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience

A great thank you once again to host Lynn Robertson of the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of California at Berkeley, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, and to organizers and ASA board members Carol Steen and Sean Day for organizing an exhilarating conference that brought together a colorful mix of researchers from the science and arts communities. A special thanks to wonderful keynote speaker, Daphne Maurer for her insightful talk, "The Infant as Synesthete?"

Click for conference details at ASA site




Archives 2003 highlights

October 22, 2003

Kate Spanos, President of the Students' Cognitive Science Society of the University of Virginia has organized a "Speakers' Series on Synesthesia". The series kicked off with author Patricia Lynne Duffy, Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color their Worlds, giving a reading from her book and a presentation on the experience of synesthesia and other idiosyncratic ways of coding information

An article about Ms Spanos appears in this month's University of Virginia's A & S Online

 October 16, 2003

The Mind Science Foundation's Fall 2003 Distinguished Speakers Series , San Antonio, Texas (click for article about this event) included a lecture on synesthesia by Dr. Peter Grossenbacher of Naropa University


The Third Annual American Synesthesia Association (ASA) Conference took place at Rockefeller University, at the invitation of Dr, Maria Karayiourgu, Head of Rockefeller's Neurogentics Laboratory, New York City May 2 - 4 (details here) and was organized by Edward Hubbard of University of California at San Diego, American Synesthesia Association (ASA) Board Members Sean Day, and Carol Steen and 'mc'd by Dr. Peter Grossenbacher of Naropa University. The conference, which took place from May 19-21 featured as its honored keynote speakers, Dr. Lawrence Marks of Yale University, who spoke about "Synesthesia Then and Now",
 the development of research and changing attitudes toward the study of synesthesia and Dr. Mriganka Sur of MIT
, who spoke about "Plasticity and Specificity in Cortical Development". Presenters included Julian Asher of Cambridge University, who presented on results of a genetic scan of the X-chromosome and implications for the genetics of synaesthesia; Greta Berman of the Julliard School of Music, who presented on responses to descriptions of synesthesia; Sean Day who presented "Towards an international consensus and standardization of labels and terminology in synesthesia research"; Dr. Mike Dixon of the University of Waterloo, Ontario who discussed how synesthetic photisms can help or hinder performance; Pat Duffy, author, Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How synesthetes Color their Worlds, who explored 'Personal Coding' idiosyncratic information coding of synesthetes and non-synesthetes; Harvey Gittlemen, who presented his art from synesthetic perceptions of music; Edward Hubbard of the Brain and perception Laboratory at UCSD who discussed how higher and lower forms of synesthesia appear at different stages of numerical processing; author Wendy Mass, discussed her young adult novel on synesthesia, A Mango-Shaped Space; Dr. Phil Merikle of the University of Waterloo who discussed the possible genetic basis for synesthesia and its sex-linked aspect; synesthetes who first become conscious of the synesthetic photism vs. those who first become conscious of its trigger; Dr. Thomas Palmieri of Vanderbilt University discussed the "Perceptual Reality of Synesthetic Colors and their Interactions with real colors"; artist-photographer Marcia Smilack, who spoke about how synesthesia figures into her creative process; Ferrinne Spector of Trinity College, who presented on "Cross-modal Associations in the non-synesthetic population"; Carol Steen, who presented slides of her art work along with a paper, Visions Shared: A Firsthand Look into Synesthesia and Art on synesthesia and her creative process; Cretien Van Campen, who presented on "Combining artistic and scientific perspectives in the study of synesthesia"; Jamie Ward, who compared lexical-gustatory grapheme-color synesthesia; The closing event was the screening of the award-winning short documentary film, Chroma by synesthete and filmmaker Carrie Schultz.

April and February 2003

--Synesthete filmmaker Carrie Schultz' short documentary Chroma was screened at a number of independent film festivals, including the New York Independent Film and Video Festival in April 2003 and at the Los Angeles Independent Film and Video in February 2003. Festival where it won a prize for best short documentary

April 19 -- May 24 2003

An art exhibition, Multi-Sensory Memory and Synesthesia, organized by at the Hera Gallery, Wakefield, Rhode Island

July 22 

The Synesthesia Evening, featuring presentations by synesthetic artist-photographer, Marcia Smilack, author Patricia Lynne Duffy, and poet Rose Styron, who read works of Rimbaud, Baudelaire and Garcia-Lorca at the Synergy Design Gallery, Martha's Vineyard, Mass. 

February 2

The Synesthesia Afternoon, featuring presentations by synesthetic artists and writers took place at Halcyon Cafe in the artists' enclave of Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, NY

Presenters included (in order of appearance) Pat Duffy, who read from her book, Blue Cats (Henry Holt & Company.; Rosalind Palermo Stevenson, Anna Muir and Pauline Zalkin who read synesthesia-inspired poems by Rimbaud, Baudelaire, and Garcia-Lorca in both English and their original French and Spanish; Carol Steen, who presented slides of her synesthetic art work, along with a paper, Visions Shared: A Firsthand Look into Synesthesia and Art (Leonardo) on the synesthetic aspect of her creative process; Katherine Vaz, who read from her novel Saudade (St. Martin's Press), which features a character with synesthesia; Natasha Lvovich who read Confessions of a Synesthete, a chapter from her book, The Multilingual Self (Lawrence Ehrlbaum Press); Wendie Mass, who read from her forthcoming children's book which features a synesthetic character, A Mango-Shaped Space (Little Brown); and Mark Safan, who showed slides of his paintings and talked of the synesthetic relation between music and his art work.   

As one member of the audience said, "There is something very moving and convincing about seeing so many people present about their experience of synesthesia." 

The participants hope to repeat their performance of The Synesthesia Afternoon at another venue. Synesthesia Community News will keep you posted.

Some Media Events

Synesthesia was much in the media in 2003.  Some notables:

December 13, 2003

"Hearing Red", an article on Dr. Peter Grossenbacher's research and interviews with synesthetes in The Daily Camera, major newspaper of Boulder, Colorado

May 2003

"Hearing Colors, Tasting Shapes", an article American article by Dr. V.S. Ramachandran and Ed Hubbard in Scientific American 

February 16 & 19 2003

Hearing Colours, Eating Sounds, rebroadcast of BBC-radio interviews with assorted researchers and synesthetes


February 7 and July 7 2003

National Public Radio, interview with Patricia Lynne Duffy, author of Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens: How Synesthetes Color their Worlds--on The Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC-FM The interview with Pat Duffy followed a fascinating interview with author Antonio Damasio who discussed his new book, Looking for Spinoza

January 6, 2003

"Extra-sense Perception" in The Dallas Morning News


For a fuller list of media events and research articles, visit the Blue Cats Synesthesia Resource Center


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