My thesis investigates the connections between sight and sound through the example of Wassily Kandinsky’s synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is the involuntary physical experience of a cross-modal association. This means that the stimulation of one sense reliably causes a perception in one or more different senses. Kandinsky is thought to have experienced color-hearing, though the biological basis of his synaesthesia is unclear. Evidence suggests that Kandinsky was trying to create a synaesthetic dimension to his work, rather than his art being an expression of his synaesthesia. His writings revolve around the theme of spirituality in art, giving synaesthetic metaphor and hailing music as the purest of art forms. He strove towards the spiritual example of music with his paintings, assigning them synaesthetic undertones. This renders his works quasi-hybrid in aesthetic value and intention, although their forms are still pure. Kandinsky’s work illustrates the influence that the arts have on one another, a topic particularly relevant in our multimedia-saturated world.
SECTOR B/ Art & Culture of Seeing
ADVISERS: Karen Beckman (CINE) | Michael O'Reilly (SEAS)