Wednesday, 19 January 2011


In the creative projects I do I use the word synesthesia understood as a creative exploration of the connection between the senses. However the word itself also describes a neurological process which automatically links one sense to another (one's sensation perceived with one sense has a "correspondence" in another sense). People who experience synesthesia are called synesthesists. For the first time in my life, tonight, in an art gallery (South London Gallery), I have met one, who was part of a live performance. 3 musicians (Julien Discrit, Thomas Dupouy and Laurent Montaron) were playing a static music piece on three traditional reed organs and the synesthesist, Claude-Samuel Levine, "translated" the sound into a colour system which was simultaneously projected into the space. The performance was conceived with artist Ulla Von Brandenburg.

The synesthesist had one table were several cards of different colours had been laid, that he would pick up and use to form, on another table, a visual scenario according to the sounds the musicians played. I was really amazed and happy as it was the first time I saw a phenomena like synesthesia being investigated with a live performance. This could lead to other performances to further investigate this phenomena, why not using other senses...

The venue was packed and spectators were so impressed that after the performance many (including I) gathered around the synesthesist to ask him questions, which was rather confusing for both us and the guy I assume. In fact there wasn't a proper introduction or a Q&A time with the artists and the synesthesist. This is a shame: given the public's interest and being synesthesia a rather unknown-to-many territory, this would have helped the audience to get more into the "sensation" of such an interesting performance. I wonder what the actual artists' idea was...

However, the synesthesist was very kind and I managed just to ask whether he had worked with perfume. Unfortunately (for my ears) for now his experience (and maybe his synesthesia?) is related to music and sight, he is actually a composer too.

Claude also said that another couple of fascinating facts: first, when he hears a sound he can see its movement. Second, he actually experiences synesthesia with words and vowels too: for instance when he hears the vowel A he sees the colour yellow. So for the first time in my life I have met someone to relate to for an experience that I had only "heard of" in a poem. Did Rimbaud know about synesthesia or did he "just" contribute to its use in literature?! I wish I could ask him...


A Black, E white, I red, U green, O blue : vowels,
I shall tell, one day, of your mysterious origins:
A, black velvety jacket of brilliant flies
Which buzz around cruel smells,

Gulfs of shadow; E, whiteness of vapours and of tents,
Lances of proud glaciers, white kings, shivers of cow-parsley;
I, purples, spat blood, smile of beautiful lips
In anger or in the raptures of penitence;

U, waves, divine shudderings of viridian seas,
The peace of pastures dotted with animals, the peace of the furrows
Which alchemy prints on broad studious foreheads;

O, sublime Trumpet full of strange piercing sounds,
Silences crossed by Worlds and by Angels:
O the Omega, the violet ray of Her Eyes!


A noir, E blanc, I rouge, U vert, O bleu : voyelles,
Je dirai quelque jour vos naissances latentes :
A, noir corset velu des mouches éclatantes
Qui bombinent autour des puanteurs cruelles,

Golfes d'ombre ; E, candeur des vapeurs et des tentes,
Lances des glaciers fiers, rois blancs, frissons d'ombelles ;
I, pourpres, sang craché, rire des lèvres belles
Dans la colère ou les ivresses pénitentes ;

U, cycles, vibrements divins des mers virides,
Paix des pâtis semés d'animaux, paix des rides
Que l'alchimie imprime aux grands fronts studieux ;

O, suprême Clairon plein des strideurs étranges,
Silence traversés des Mondes et des Anges :
- O l'Oméga, rayon violet de Ses Yeux ! -
A. Rimbaud

Monday, 3 January 2011



As part of LE LABO’s mission to increase their customer’s knowledge on perfume, synesthetic provocateur Nicola Pozzani will introduce you to a one-of-a-kind series of creative workshops. This is a unique workshop experience currently offered only in Le Labo London.

Le Labo Synesthetic Series is a series of 5 syneshetic workshops about perfume, which will take place once a month, on Sunday afternoons at Le Labo Devonshire Street’s boutique in London. Students will experience perfume by using the 5 senses with a synesthetic approach, which means they will explore the connections between the sense of smell (the one directly related to scent) and the other senses (vision, touch, sound and taste). Students will then develop their perfume knowledge through their sensory perception and their creativity.

Le Labo Synesthetic workshops will be 100% interactive. Working in small groups, Students will learn about Le Labo fragrances and the finest perfume ingredients they are made of. Students will then engage in practical sensory exercises and by doing so will become actively involved in experiencing the connections between perfume and other sensations. This synesthetic experience will help them expand their knowledge of scent.

Furthermore, by exploring the sensations perfume can transmit, students will have the chance to experience perfume as an art form, as a creative language and become aware of the creative scenarios that lay behind fragrance creation. They will eventually become more sensitive to scent and gain a newly discovered perception of perfume. 


When : Every last Sunday of the month from January to May 2011 (Workshop 1 will be Jan 30th)
Time : 4 pm to 6 pm
Where : Le Labo London – 28A Devonshire Street, London W1G 6PS
Price : 45 Pounds
Number of places : maximum 6 per session
RSVP : or +44 20 3441 1535
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