International Association of Synaesthetes, Artists, and Scientists

ArtSci Gallery at UCLA


Synaesthesia: What is the taste of the color blue?

Building Bridges Art Exchange, sponsored by the International Association of Synaesthetes, Artists, and Scientists, and in partnership with ArtSci Gallery at UCLA presents Synaesthesia: What is the taste of the color blue?, an exhibition of captivating art installations. This exhibition will explore artists who have unique sensory experiences, synesthesia, and reveal their experiences of the world through their exquisite art.

Opening Reception
September 23rd, 2017 7pm – 10pm

Building Bridges Art Exchange (BBAX) is a non-profit (501) (C3) contemporary art organization. Our mission is to help cultivate cultural understanding through the arts. We work to engage local communities and contemporary artists across the globe by facilitating workshops, educational programs, international art exchanges and artist residencies. We work in partnership with museums, galleries, Ministries of Culture, cultural art centers, art organizations and foundations from around the world—at present over 27 countries

2525 Michigan Ave, Unit F2, Santa Monica

Tue-Fri 11:00am-5:00pm
Saturday 11:00pm-6:00pm



16 Nov 2017 – 6:00pm

SYN CITY is a one night only exploration of merged perception. A pop-up event immersed within the installation Synaesthesia: what is the taste of the color blue? at Building Bridges Art Exchange.

SYN CITY melds creative expression with scientific inquiry, inviting the audience to experience cross-modal perception through sculpture, performance, interactive installation, photography, and visual art.

Produced by the UCLA Art | Sci Center in collaboration with Building Bridges Art Exchange and the International Association of Synaesthetes, Artists, and Scientists, SYN CITY is a benefit / fundraising celebration focused toward the publication of a catalogue documenting this inaugural large-scale synaesthesia exhibition, symposium and accompanying performances and author readings — the first of its kind in the United States.

Victoria Vesna, Artist and director of UCLA Art | Sci Center will present on this occasion Octopus Brainstorming: Synesthesia – a performative installation created in collaboration with neuroscientist Mark Cohen. This work utilizes real-time EEG brain waves, video, color, and sound in an illustration of brain-to-brain communication. Performers featured at Building Bridges Art Exchange gallery are Appelusa and Marcos Lutyens, synaesthete artists who currently have their works installed at Building Bridges Art Exchange.

Featured works also include Pathless Woods by artist Anne Patterson, a touchable, walk-through sculpture, and Tim Thompson’s The Space Palette, an instrument that combines sound with color, pattern, and light, providing visitors to SYN CITY with the chance to experience colored music of their own creation.

This special event is free of charge and open to the public.

Building Bridges Art Exchange
2525 Michigan Avenue, Unit F2
Santa Monica, CA 90404


19 Oct 2017 – 6:00pm to 21 Oct 2017 – 7:00pm
The International Association of Synaesthetes, Artists, and Scientists will host its first ever synaesthesia symposium at UCLA in conjunction with the Art|Sci Center, and in collaboration with Building Bridges Art Exchange. The full schedule of events may be found below:

Thursday, October 19th, 2017, 6pm: Reception, reading and book signing with Dr. Joel Salinas, author of Mirror-Touch: Notes from a doctor who can feel your pain

Building Bridges Art Exchange
Bergamot Station Art Center
2525 Michigan Avenue, Unit F2
Santa Monica, CA 90404

IASAS Synaesthesia Symposium

Watch the live stream of the symposium, Friday 10/20, 9:30 am pst
Friday, October 20th, 2017, 9:30am – 6pm: All day symposium including keynote lectures by Dr. Joel Salinas and Michael Banissy. Live stream link:

UCLA CNSI Auditorium
UCLA California NanoSystems Institute, 570 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles, CA, 90095

Saturday, October 21st, 2017, 5pm – 7pm: Kaitlyn Hova in concert @ Building Bridges Art Exchange

Keynote Speaker: Joel Salinas, MD, MBA

Joel Salinas was born in Miami Beach, Florida. After studying the intersection of biology and sociology at Cornell University, he completed his medical degree at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine followed by neurology residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He subsequently completed a combined research and clinical fellowship in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the top medical facilities in the United States.

Dr. Salinas lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is an Instructor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He specializes in brain health, including neuropsychiatry and cognitive behavioral neurology, and conducts research in social and behavioral epidemiology to understand the complex neurobiological interplay between social relationships and brain health. He chronicles his experiences as a doctor living with synesthesia in his new book, Mirror Touch: Notes from a Doctor Who Can Feel Your Pain (from HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins).

Keynote Lecturer: Michael Banissy, PhD

Michael Banissy, PhD is an award-winning Cognitive Neuroscientist. In 2016, Michael was awarded the British Psychological Society Spearman Medal, and in 2017 the Bertelson Award for outstanding contributions to psychological research. After completing his PhD at Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, Michael took a post at Goldsmiths College (University of London) and is now Director of Research in the Department of Psychology. He has contributed to several diverse research areas. In particular, Michael’s research and areas of expertise focus on synaesthesia, social perception (e.g. emotion perception), social interaction, and creativity and performance. The breadth of his work is not only seen in scientific contributions, but also in his engagement to bring science to the public and his effort in connecting science to art. This has resulted in him receiving a number of honours, including substantial external funding and prizes from major scientific bodies in the UK and internationally.

Special Guest Speaker: Richard Cytowic, MD, MFA

Richard Cytowic, M.D., M.F.A. is best known for returning synesthesia to mainstream science, winning the Montaigne Medal, with David Eagleman, for Wednesday is Indigo Blue, a book Oliver Sacks called “a unique and indispensable guide for anyone interested in how we perceive the world.” A subject of BBC documentaries, Dr. Cytowic has spoken at the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian, and cultural institutions worldwide. A Professor of Neurology at George Washington University, he is also a Fellow of the DC Commission of Arts and Humanities, and a multiple-times Fellow of The Hambidge Center, the Southampton Writers Conference, and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. This Spring, Chocolate Smells Pink and Sparkly: Sensory Fusion on the Synesthesia Spectrum will be published as part of MIT Press’s Essential Knowledge series.


Does Synaesthesia Age? Changes in the Quality and Consistency of Synaesthetic Associations
Alberta Ipser, Rebecca Smees, James Alvarez and Julia Simner (Univ. of Sussex)

Rare Variants in Axonogenesis Genes Connect Three Families with Sound → Colour Synaesthesia
Amanda K Tilot(1), Katerina Kucera(1), Arianna Vino(1), Julian E Asher(2), Simon Baron-Cohen(2), Simon E Fisher(1,3). (1. Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics; 2. Univ. of Cambridge; 3. Radboud Univ.)

Solomon Shereshevsky: mnemonist and journalist
Anton Sidorov-Dorso (Moscow State Pedagogical Univ.)

Varied Experiences: Congenital vs. Acquired Synesthesia and Diverging Costs
Candita Wager, Sean A. Day

Developmental Synaesthesia and Tonal Music Improvisation
Eduardo Sola Chagas Lima (Andrews Univ.)

Chromesthesia, Visual Music and the Creation of a 3D Printed Instrument: The Hovalin
Kaitlin Hova, Hova Labs

The White Noise of Synesthesia
Lidell Simpson, Brogaard Lab for Multisensory Research

Temporal Consistency in Grapheme → Color Synesthesia Covaries with Sensitivity to Regulatory Factors in Grapheme → Color Associations
Michiko Asano(1), Jun-ichi Nagai(2) & Kazuhiko Yokosawa(3) (1. Rikkyo Univ.; 2. Univ. of the Sacred Heart, Japan; 3. Univ. of Tokyo)

The Promise of Multi­-Language Synesthesia Datasets Using a Five­ Language Dataset to Disentangle the Effects of Shape → Sound Semantics and Ordinality on Grapheme → Color Associations in Grapheme → Color Synesthesia
Nicholas Root(1), Romke Rouw(2), Michiko Asano(3), Chai-Youn Kim(4), Helena Melero(5), Kazuhiko Yokosawa(6), & Vilayanur Ramachandran(1) (1. UC – San Diego; 2. Univ. of Amsterdam; 3. Rikkyo Univ.; 4. Korea Univ.; 5. Univ. Rey Juan Carlos; 6. Univ. of Tokyo)

An Update on Synaesthesia and the Arts in China
Ninghui Xiong, Abstract Artist and Founder of XNH Painting Music Synesthesia Art Studio

Sense and Meaning: Body Senses and Language in a Synesthetic Key
Sérgio R. Basbaum (Ponticia Univ. Católica de São Paulo)

The Colorful Calculator: Reducing the Mismatch Between the Veridical Inducer and the Non-veridical Concurrent
Joshua Berger (Sydney Medical School)


Jon Adams works in a variety of mediums, is a trained geologist and considers himself to to be an ‘Outsider Artist’. Adams has synaesthesia and Asperger Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. The artist’s work explores sense and sensitivity through the ‘hidden’ and plays with perceptions of normal and the inaccessible.

Raewyn Turner and Brian Harris individually and collaboratively engage both simple elements with engineering to create experiential art. Their work is intertwined with science, utilizing a fusion of commonplace and made objects fused with high level electronics which Brian invents and develops for camera and robotics along with Raewyn’s olfactory scientific research and art practice. In Turner and Harris’s collaborative work they create multisensory experiences and manifestations of unsensed data and invite the audience to sample, taste, smell and participate.

Anne Patterson has chromesthesia; when she hears sound, she sees color. Trained as an architect and theater production designer, this unique combination of senses combines to create an artistic practice, hovering somewhere between the theatrical and the experiential. She continues to explore creating synesthetic environments with site- responsive installation, Pathless Woods, an investigation that began with her acclaimed 2013 installation Graced with Light, at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.

James Wannerton is an Englishman with an incredibly rare ability to taste sound. Even as a young boy, James always experienced an involuntary taste on his tongue every time he heard a sound. Hearing the name Anne Boleyn in history class, for example, gave him a strong flavor of pear drops. He associated most of the British monarchs with a specific taste, making it easy for him to remember facts and events.

Appelusa is a world champion artistic roller skater, and also an accomplished actor, writer, voice-over artist, photographer, mixed media, and performance artist. As a visual artist, she strives to depict how synaesthesia affects her perception of daily life by combining technology, roller dance, photography, and music. She is a founding member of the International Association of Synaesthetes, Artists, and Scientists (IASAS), and serves as the organization’s Dance Curator.

M.J. Cordoba, Doctor of Fine Arts (1994), has been researching on the synaesthesia field since the 80’s. In addition, she also researches in other topics such as engraving on new materials and illustration systems on synthetic polymers (piece of work published by the Institute of Science and Polymer Technology, CSIC, in the year 2005). Forerunner of the study and promotion of synaesthesia in Spain, she has managed to organize four International Congresses on Synaesthesia, Science and Arts, which are unique in Europe due to their multidisciplinary character, These congresses bring together the highest level of researchers among universities from 40 different countries.

Marjan Vayghan informs her life experiences through multiple forms of synaesthesia, Marjan Vayghan’s creative practice is shaped by her flexibility and relationship with colors, sounds and cross-pollination of senses and the multiple realities these sensations engender.

Tim Thompson is a software engineer, musician, and installation artist. His wide-ranging artistic work includes a programming language for MIDI, interactive installations at Burning Man and other festivals, musical performances with Playstation dance pads and QWERTY keyboards, and realtime video looping and processing with a handheld security camera. The Space Palette is a collaboration with Paul Sable, who created the woodwork.

Christine Söffing, born in Dortmund, Germany, studied the history of art, German language and literature, computer science, psychology and art in Münster, Germany. She has committed herself to working as an artist, while also giving workshops for drawing, painting, sculpture and video for children, young people and adults. Since 2010, Christine Söffing has served as head of the EMU-Ensemble, which offers experimental music and art through the Musisches Zentrum Ulm University concerts and sound-installations uniting art and science.

Marcos Lutyens‘s practice has centered on the investigation of consciousness to engage the visitor’s embodied experience of art. Exhibitions of infinite scale and nature have been installed in the minds of visitors. His investigations have included research with social groups such as the third-gender Muxhe, Raeilians, synaesthetes, border migrants, space engineers and mental architects to explore how unconscious mind-sets shift across cultures and backgrounds.

Dr. Richard E. Cytowic, MD, MFA, currently Professor of Neurology at George Washington University, is a pioneer in synaesthesia research and, as an author, his books are considered the foundation for much of what we now understand about inherited synaesthesia. Dr. Cytowic and artist Marcos Lutyens often collaborate to create an ongoing dialogue between science and art.


Image Credit:
Appelusa Photography:

Syn City: a multi-sensory imaginarium of scientific delight + artistic inquiry + synaesthetic confession is co-curated by Building Bridges Art Exchange founder Marisa Caichiolo and Victoria Vesna, Director of the UCLA Art | Sci Center.

Produced by:
IASAS, CC Hart, Sean Day
BBAX, Marisa Caichiolo,  Daniel Schuster
UCLA Art | Sci Center, Victoria Vesna

Creative content contributors:
Michael Becker, Andrew Ortiz, Portrait XO, Appelusa

Web Interface:
In WordPress by Claudia Jacques.