Synaesthesia Cocktails Success

Art Neuro held their first event at Stories, Hackney that was focused on trying to explain synaesthesia by drinking blackened cocktails!

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‘What is synaesthesia?’ I hear you ask. Well, according to the UK Synaesthesia Association it is the ‘union of senses’ whereby two or more of the five senses that are normally experienced separately are involuntarily and automatically joined together. On the night we were joined by four synaesthesia experts one of whom was James Wannerton, the president of the UK Synaesthesia Association, who tastes sounds, words, and colour. James brought along his ‘taste the tube’ map that represents his synaesthetic tastes and flavours of every station of the TFL system, Hackney Central tastes of Trebor Extra Strong Mints… I really wish it did! When I asked James what my name tastes like he said ‘sloppy stew’, oh well maybe it’s not too late to change my name…

We also had Micheal Banissy a researcher at Goldsmiths who is a rare ‘ticker-tape’ synaesthete, which means he can see the text of speech scrolling along when someone is talking. His research focuses on using fMRI brain scanning techniques to understand self-perception. Felicity Allman also came along who is a grapheme-colour synaesthete and sees numbers as colours, as well as, Clare Jonas who is a synaesthesia researcher at University East London.

During the night we gave out three different cocktails (labelled 1, 2, and 3) all the same colour of a tempting oil slick black. People then had to choose which colour each cocktail tasted like on our colour wheel. The results were collated to see if there was an agreement and if you really can taste colour. There was a correlation to a certain extent but this rapidly declined as the night went on, which we blame our mixologist, Dan Cavill for make rather intoxicating cocktails!

We were lucky to be joined by Katherine Templar Lewis from Vice’s Motherboard, have a read of her article here. We are also grateful to Time Out for featuring us twice!

We would like to thank our lovely photographer Eddie Andress, our wonderful documentary maker Debee Calveche, our fantastic helpers, Patricia Costa, Filipe Almeida, Fiona Kelly, and all you magnificent people that came along to make Synaesthesia Cocktails such as success. Phew… I was running out of adjectives!

Supatra Marsh, Art Neuro curator

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