I didn’t know very much about inherited synaesthesia, but it sure seemed interesting and unique and as far as I could tell, a major international art exhibition with music and dance, poetry, etc., it had never been done. This made for my kind of project. I had a brief discussion with my Executive Director at Building Bridges, Marisa Caichiolo. Marisa let me know that this kind of science based art exhibition isn’t the usual thing we do at Building Bridge. Our focus is contemporary museum quality art, but Marisa was intrigued by the idea, and encouraged me to try to put it together.
At the end of August, 2015, I was very lucky to discover, then touch base with Dr. Sean A. Day, than President of the American Synesthesia Association. Sean found the idea of a major art gallery exhibition intriguing and offered to be an adviser. I soon realized, with his expertise and background, Dr. Day would actually make an ideal producing partner for this new project. As we went about planning the project and creating lists of possible musical participants, musicians, dancers, artists, scientists, etc., we came to understand, that to bring the exhibition to the next level and give it gravitas, it would be ideal to collaborate with a major Los Angeles university.
An immersive performance at Art Sci Center, University of California LA
Through some research and a bit of luck, I learned that Art Sci Center at University of California Los Angeles had hosted a one day event on mixing of the senses to create art and the title related to synaesthesia. I also learned that Director, Victoria Vesna, and Art Sci, had a long history of creating events that bring together the arts and sciences. I reached out to Victoria about our project and Marisa and I were invited to meet with her and experience a fantastic cross-modal art installation in the Art Sci Gallery. Some months later, Victoria and her department offered to host an international science conference on inherited synaesthesia to accompany our art exhibition.
Sean and I posted a call for volunteers on his chat board, The Synaesthete List that he has curated for the last 20 years. It maintains an ongoing discussion with over 1,000 people with inherited synaesthesia from all over the world.
From that call for volunteers, some incredible people joined our team, Juliette Irons, synaesthete choreographer, Zoe a synaesthete ballerina, Portrait XO, synaesthete composer, and Appelusa, world roller skating champion, skate choreographer, and event producer, CC Hart with a backgrounds in nonprofit foundations. CC is a mirror touch synaesthete who feels what other people feel. CC is one of the most well-organized, competent people I have ever met.
Appelusa, event producer, roller skating choreographer, actor
As the project came together, CC suggested that it would be ideal to create a new nonprofit to organize and fund this budding project. And she did just that. CC did all the paperwork, wrote the bylaws, created the website, etc. Dr. Sean A. Day became our President, CC, Secretary, and I assumed the role of Artistic Director. The International Association of Synaesthetes, Artist, and Scientists (IASAS) was launched.
IASAS hosts its second conference in Moscow, October 2019
Our team pooled all our resources’, talents’ and contacts,’ IASAS sponsored the exhibition and co-sponsored the international science conference with Victoria Vesna of Art Sci Center at UCLA. Marisa brilliantly curated the interactive the art. I produced the opening reception, components on wine, literature, and taste. Appelusa produced (I co-produced with CC) the world’s first dance event showcasing synaesthete performers. and on September 23, we held our opening reception at Building Bridges for SYNAESTHESIA: What is the taste of the color Blue? The question was, what would the LA art scene think about inherited synaesthesia?