Synaesthesia and the Student

The IASAS has launched a call for papers for our virtual symposium Synaesthesia and the Student to be hosted online May 27th and 28th 2022, with the help from our partners at the German Synaesthesia Association, the Russian Synesthesia Community, and the United Kingdom Synaesthesia Association We hope you will join us!

2021 SSOA Online Symposium

Synesthesia in Africa: Discovery, Awareness, Research, and Outreach

We are honored to support a virtual symposium hosted by the Synesthesia Society of Africa in collaboration with the international Association of Synaesthetes, Artists, and Scientists. Featured speakers include:

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Mahmoud Bukar-Maina, PhD, a scientist, educator, and advocate for neuroscience in Africa

Dr. Richard Cytowic, MD, MFA, in conversation with Dr. Sean A. Day, PhD, president of The International Association of Synaesthetes, Artists, and Scientists

Dr. Celsus Sente, PhD, lecturer, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda

Abiola Ogunsanwo, founder, Synesthesia Society of Africa

Dr. Sheila Clare Butungi, DVM, SSOA secretary and polysynesthete 

Dr. Julia Simner, PhD, developer of the MULTISENSE synesthesia toolkit

Dr. Jamie Ward, PhD, director, University of Sussex Neuroscience 

Anton Dorso, founder and Science Supervisor, Russian Synesthesia Community

Tickets are available here.

Thank you Moscow!

Moscow may be known as the third Rome yet it is first in the hearts of participants who attended Synaesthesia: Cross-Sensory Aspects of Cognition Across Science and Art. This 5 day series of events launched October 16th, 2019 with a press conference at the headquarters of RIA Novosti, Russia’s largest provider of international news. Representatives from IASAS, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, and the American Synesthesia Association gathered for a lively dialogue moderated by Natalia Loseva, on the topic Synaesthesia: study of the phenomenon and its role in art and creativity. Participants included IASAS president Sean A. Day, art historian and associate professor at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory Elena Rovenko, artist and ASA president Carol Steen, synaesthesia historian Jörg Jewanski, IASAS secretary CC Hart, musician and neuroscientist Kaitlyn Hova, and IASAS board member Anton Dorso, head of the research group “Synesthesia: children and parents” at the center for interdisciplinary research of modern childhood MGPPU, and senior lecturer at Moscow State University for Psychology and Education.

A public lecture, concert, and exhibition at the Museum of Moscow followed the press conference. An installation featuring IASAS participating artists and including works by Art Sensorium surrounded the audience for an opening talk by IASAS president Dr. Sean A. Day. Concert pianist Dr. Svetlana Rudenko wowed the crowd with her energetic rendition of Scriabin’s Sonata No5, opus 53 in F sharp major, accompanied by visuals created by professor Maura McDonnell from Trinity College, Dublin Ireland. Kaitlyn Hova introduced the audience to her invention the Hovalin, a 3-D printed violin created in collaboration with her husband Matt Hova, and Christine Söffing immersed the crowd in an experimental music soundscape. A VIP gathering at Proviant Cafe closed out the evening.

Moscow State University of Psychology and Education hosted the initial two days of the symposium. After welcome addresses by MSUPE president Dr. Vasily Rubistov and Dr. Konstantin Zenkin from the Tchaikovsky Conservatory, Dr. Richard Cytowic, MD, PhD, MFA opened the conference with a keynote speech “Synesthesia: what do we know? What do we want to know?” Dr. Konstantin Zenkin followed with his presentation “The Musical: its essence and place in art”. Additional speakers on our opening morning at MSUPE included IASAS Science Director Dr. Romke Rouw, Dr. Jamie Ward from the University of Sussex, and Dr. Beat Meier from the University of Bern. 

Poster presentations were hung on the third floor of MSUPE and included papers in large scale visual format from Argentina (Gaby Cardoso), Australia (Joshua Berger), China (Ninghui Xiong), Russia (S. Y. Uzilov and J. Slovachevskaya) Scotland (Anna MasCasasdesus), and the USA (Appelusa Fleming-McGlynn, CC Hart, Anna Mantheakis). Topics included synaesthetic perceptions of musical frequencies, dance and synaesthesia, and differences in intermodal attention, among other topics.

Christos Parapakgidis, a multimedia artist from Greece, displayed his work “Solomon’s Case” at MSUPE. Visitors to the interactive installation participated in scent and taste encounters as they viewed a multimedia exhibit on Russia’s most famous synaesthete. Additionally, our art exhibit featuring works from an international selection of artists made the move from the Museum of Moscow to MSUPE. Interactive installations from Playtronica and Art Sensorium created a sensory feast for visitors to the gallery.

A concert at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory closed out the first day of the conference. Musical performances included Svetlana Rudenko, Kaitlin Hova and Matt Hova, and the Flowers of Hell, featuring Greg Jarvis, founder of the Canadian Synesthesia Association, with Daniella Friesen, Sean Matthew Berry, Stephen Head, and Ian Edward Thorn.

The IASAS presented more than 50 unique speakers at Moscow State University of Psychology and Education before moving on Saturday, October 19th to the Tchaikovsky Conservatory for the final two days of the conference. Our art exhibit was installed in a lobby gallery, and our speakers presented on topics including synaesthesia in regard to digital arts, olfaction and art, image, movement, and gesture, music cognition and aesthetics. 

The evening of October 19th 2021 brought conference participants together at the St. Regis Moscow Rooftop Hall for an elegant dinner. Kaitlyn Hova entertained the diners with a selection of tunes on her Hovalin. Polina Dimova gave us an impromptu performance of traditional Russian folksongs on the Hova’s glowing 3d printed violin.

Our final day of the conference included papers on cross-sensory aspects of cognition in comparative literature and musicology, screen arts and visual technology, along with a session focused on historical representations of visual music. Sunday’s presentations closed with a roundtable dialogue on the future of synaesthesia conferences and the topics participants would like to see addressed at the next event.

Synaesthesia: Cross_sensory Aspects of Cognition Across Science and Art closed with a concert in the Tchaikovsky Conservatory’s Rachmaninoff Hall with Playtronica’s performance of experimental music in collaboration with an academic chamber orchestra conducted by Gregory Carroll. Peter Theremin was a special guest performer on the eponymous instrument created by his grandfather. 

Moscow was a wonderful host for our 5 days of art, science and synaesthesia. We had almost 300 participants from 25 countries and presentations from over 100 individuals. These events were captured by director Ola Pankratova who is working with her film crew on a documentary about synaesthesia. We will keep you posted as we learn more about this exciting project. 

See you in 2021 for our Washington DC symposium and events!
CC Hart, IASAS Secretary

Press Conference in RIA Novosti’s Presidential Hall featuring Natalia Loseva, Sean A. Day, Elena Rovenko, Carol Steen, Jörg Jewanski, CC Hart, Kaitlyn Hova, and Anton Dorso.
Moscow at night; Svetlana Rudenko, Sean Day, Richard Cytowic; Sean Day, James Wannerton, Anton Dorso
Abiola Ogunsanwo, Jülide Gök, Mark Knaier, Annika Johnson; detail from Valentina Tereshkova by Timothy Layden; Carol Steen, Jasmin Sinha, Svetlana Rudenko, CC Hart, Christine Söffing
MSUPE President Vitaly Rubtsove, Joerg Jewansky, Richard Cytowic, Christine Söffing, CC Hart, Anton Dorso, Sean Day; Carrie Firman’s illustrations of Klüver’s form constants; Kazan Cathedral
Moscow at night; Tchaikovsky Conservatory oboist with Peter Theremin; Christos Parapakgidis
Svetlana Rudenko and CC Hart at the conference dinner, St. Regis Nikolskaya; St. Basil’s Basilica at night; Maura McDonnell, Svetlana Rudenko, Carol Steen, and James Wannerton
Still from “Synesthesia and Art” by Greta Berman and Carol Steen; close up of Christos Parapakgidis’ “Solomon’s Case” installation; art at MSUPE including works by Timothy Layden, Marcia Smilack, and Geri Hahn
Geri Hahn’s art from And, But, Or; Geri Hahn, Ann LePore, and Maura McDonnell; That Which Cannot be Said With Words, works by Carrie Firman

See You at the St. Regis

Our conference dinner celebrating Synaesthesia: Cross-Sensory Aspects of Cognition Across Science and Art will be held on Saturday October 19th at 7PM. Our venue is the beautiful Rooftop Hall at the St. Regis Nikolskaya, overlooking the Kremlin and Red Square. Tickets for this event are sold out.  

Nikolskaya Street, 12, 

St. Regis Moscow Nikolskaya

Moscow, Russia

25 Countries and Counting…

The IASAS is honored to announce that we anticipate contributions from artists and academics representing 25 different countries at our collaborative conference “Synaesthesia: Cross-Sensory Aspects of Cognition Across Science and Art”. This series of events will be held in Moscow, Russia, October 17th through 20th, 2019. Our presenters come from the following countries:

Angentina; Australia; Austria; Belarus; Belgium; Brazil; Bulgaria; Canada; China; Germany; Greece; Iraq; Ireland; Italy; Luxembourg; New Zealand; Nigeria; Russia; Spain; Switzerland; the Netherlands; Turkey; UK; Ukraine; & USA.

Additionally, we are delighted to collaborate with the following organizations:

Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory

Museum of Moscow

American Synesthesia Association

Fundación Internacional Artecittà

United Kingdom Synesthesia Association

Russian Synesthesia Association

German Synaesthesia Association

Canadian Synesthesia Association

Saint Petersburg Institute of Interdisciplinary Research


Art Sensorium Group

RIA Novosti

The IASAS is especially honored to have Jamie Ward, PhD, from the University of Sussex, presenting on the topic of “Extreme Synaesthesia”. Dr. Ward’s talk is currently slated for 13:00 on Thursday October 17th at Moscow State University of Psychology and Education. See the link above to Dr. Ward’s TEDx talk “The Curious World of Synesthesia”.

See you in Moscow!

Основным докладчиком Московской конференции IASAS объявлен Д-р. проф. Ричард Сайтовик

Международная ассоциация синестетов, деятелей искусства и науки (IASAS) в сотрудничестве с партнерскими организациями имеет честь сообщить, что основным докладчиком II Международной конференции «Синестезия и межсенсорные аспекты познавательной деятельности в науке и искусстве», стал Ричард Сайтовик (Richard Cytowic). Симпозиум и другие мероприятия конференции пройдут 17-20 октября 2019 года в Москве, Россия.

Ричард Сайтовик, MD, MFA (доктор медицины, магистр изящных искусств), широко известен тем, что привлек внимание научной общественности к вопросу синестезии после нескольких десятков лет отрицания важности этой темы для науки. После того, как в 1979 исследователь вновь открыл тему синестезии, его коллеги-неврологи продолжали открыто выражать сомнение в истинном существовании синестезии в качестве нейрофизиологического явления, предупреждая его о том, что эта тема «слишком странная и отдает мистицизмом эпохи Нью-Эйдж» и что она разрушит его карьеру – ожидаемая реакция заскорузлых консерваторов на то, что выходит за пределы их понимания.

Сегодня синестезия признана фундаментальным явлением, раскрытие механизмов которого лежит в основе нашего понимания человеческого разума и человеческой природы в целом. Как мы способны прийти к пониманию того, что такое быть другим? Как люди, не обладающие синестезией, понимают кросс-сенсорные метафорические образы, такие как «кричащий цвет» и «сладкий голос»? Это лишь некоторые вопросы, которые ставит перед нами изучение этого захватывающего феномена восприятия.

Р. Сайтовик выступал с лекциями во многих культурных и научных центрах по всему миру, включая симпозуим «Музыка и мозг» в библиотеке Конгресса США, НАСА, симпозиум IBM по естественным алгоритмам компьютерных технологий, Смитсоновский институт, Стамбульское биеннале и Музей Хиршхорна. Результаты исследований Ричарда Сайтовика получили освещение в трех документальных фильмах BBC.

Ричард Сайтовик получил степень магистра изящных искусств по писательскому мастерству в Американском университете (American University), является выпускником университетов Дьюка, Уайк-Форест и университета Джорджа Вашингтона, а также Лондонской национальной клиники нервных болезней. Настоящий момент Ричард Сайтовик занимает пост профессора-клинициста факультета Неврологии Университета Джорджа Вашингтона.

The IASAS, in partnership with our collaborating organizations, is delighted to announce that Dr. Richard Cytowic will present as the Keynote Speaker for Synaesthesia: Cross-sensory Aspects of Cognition across Science and Art. This symposium and its parallel series of arts events will be held in Moscow, Russia, October 17th through 20th 2019.

Richard E. Cytowic, MD, MFA is best known for returning synesthesia back to mainstream science after decades of disbelief. When he rediscovered it in 1979 his neurology colleagues dismissed the trait as bogus, warning that it was “too weird, too New Age” and would “ruin” his career — a typical reaction of orthodoxy to whatever it cannot or does not wish to understand.

Today, synesthesia is recognized as fundamental to understanding the human mind and the human condition. How do we understand people who are not like us? How do non–synesthetes understand cross–sensory metaphors like “loud color” or “sweet person?” These are just some of the questions this captivating perceptual trait raises.

Dr. Cytowic speaks to cultural institutions and performance venues worldwide. Past invitations include the Library of Congress’s “Music and the Brain” symposium, NASA, IBM’s brain-inspired computing, the Smithsonian Institution, the Istanbul Biennale, and the Hirshhorn museum. Three BBC documentaries chronicle his pioneering work.

He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from American University and is an alumnus of Duke, Wake Forest, and George Washington Universities, along with London’s National Hospital for Nervous Diseases. He is currently Clinical Professor of Neurology at George Washington University.

A Grand Collaboration

There’s a traditional Russian proverb that speaks to the value of alliances, coalitions, and teamwork:

“Бери́сь дру́жно, не бу́дет гру́зно”

“If all of us take hold of it together, it won’t feel so heavy” 

The IASAS is working diligently toward a grand collaboration in one of the world’s most captivating cities. Envision crisp air, leaves dappled in fall hues, as well as fewer tourists at Moscow’s remarkable museums and historical sites. Consider your many opportunities to hear the latest scientific findings on cross-modal perception, and to witness stunning art created by neurodivergent artists. Imagine a happy reunion with familiar colleagues, and a chance to make new friends within the synaesthesia community.

Autumn is one of the loveliest seasons to visit Moscow. Please join The International Association of Synaesthetes, Artists, and Scientists in October 2019 as we launch a series of events in beautiful Russia, including our Second Synaesthesia Symposium, hosted by Moscow State University of Psychology and Education.

The IASAS is delighted to partner with several exceptional organizations as we foster a grand collaboration celebrating the art and science of synaesthesia. We are honored to have the co-creative support and participation of:

Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory

Fundación Internacional Artecittà

United Kingdom Synesthesia Association

Russian Synesthesia Association

American Synesthesia Association 

Additional collaborators will be announced in the coming months, along with information about participating speakers, presenters, events, and venues.

We look forward to greeting you in Moscow with a warm Здравствуйте! You can learn more ways to say “hello” in Russian here.

CC Hart
IASAS Secretary


Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) @ UCLA

IASAS is delighted to support our Dance Coordinator and Synesthesia Dance Experience Artistic Director Appelusa in her presentation this evening at LASER, hosted by the University of California Los Angeles and the California Nanosystems Institute. Appelusa will speak about her experiences with multiple forms of synesthesia, and her determination to reveal polysynesthesia through her visual art. Joining Appelusa at LASER tonight are synesthete and master perfumer Daniel Krasofski, and Building Bridges Art Exchange Special Exhibitions Coordinator Daniel Schuster. Check out our live stream of this evening’s event here.

UCLA June 7