The Colours of Black

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Synesthesia awareness and black culture

I have something called synesthesia and it comes in many forms. The most common type of synesthesia is called Sound-Colour which is where you can either associate a colour to a certain sound or literally project a colour when you hear a certain sound.

It is said that “about one in 2,000 people are synesthetes, and some experts suspect that as many as one in 300 people have some variation of the condition.”

The Colours of Emotion

In an attempt to show people what individuals with synesthesia see, I decided to conduct a few interviews; 1 with a gig enthusiast and the other with a singer. I asked them each to choose a song and explain to me how it makes them feel and to give me their interpretation of the song.

Here are the interviews:

With the information that I was given during the interview, I did a photoshoot with both individuals and edited the photos according to the emotion and theme they told me about their song choice.

Josh: Arcane Roots – Harboured At Sea (Bonus Track).

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See the rest of Josh’s photos on www.mmucollection.co.uk (or click here).

Aria Vocals: Missing You by LSB ft Tyler Daley & DRS.

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See the rest of Aria Vocal’s photos on www.mmucollection.co.uk (or click here).

The Colours of Black

Not only am I interested in bringing awareness to synesthesia, but I also have a huge interest in the culture of music.

Ethnomusicology is the study of music and culture and how the two intertwine. This was a topic that I was going to study at university for my Masters degree, so I thought it would be fitting to incorporate that in my current work.

With that said, I have decided to  to conduct an ‘experiment’. I want people to see how I see or how other synesthetes see, hear, and feel.

The cultural element that I am going to be focusing on is black culture which will touch on topics such as black rights, black excellence and even issues such as police brutality. This is why I have titled the event and article, ‘The Colours of Black’. Yes, race will be discussed, but also colour and how people relate or react to it.

All of these topics are going to be shared by myself and the artists, Shanya, Rebecca Rose, Sophielou, Marcus Perks, and Nathan James who I have invited to help me with this project.

Everyone who attends the event will be given a show program that will have a suitable amount of blank space next to each artist and performance. As the show is going on, the spaces can be filled in by the individual sharing how the performance made them feel, what they thought it was about, how it affected them, if they liked that particular feeling, and if it made them uncomfortable.

Once the night is over, these sheets are put into the several boxes that are dotted around the venue and collected so I can review the results.

Here is a breakdown of some of the songs and stage directions of the event:

Strange Fruit – Billie Holliday

The song I have chosen to sing is called ‘Strange Fruit’ which was originally sung by Billie Holliday, though there have been many variations/covers of the song.

Whilst I’m performing the song, a video with red abstract imagery will  be projected on the stage so that it covers me when I’m singing.

The red is to signify the blood caused by lynching – which is what the song is all about.

Black Gold – Esperanza Spalding

The music video to this song will be playing on a screen for everyone to watch and black and gold balloons will be given to everyone seated.

Hell You Talmout – Janelle Monae

This is a protest song which names some of the black americans that died because of police brutality.

All the acts who performed on the day will march on stage with t-shirts that have racial and police brutality references such as, ‘bang-bang’, gun photos, people’s names, ‘say a name’, etc.

Different colours and lights will be flashing in time with the drum beat.

After the event there will be a video projected on a screen. This video will be a compilation of clips I’ve collected of interviews, words/quotes, and short testimonies on black culture, excellence, police brutality, self love etc.

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The Poster

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Here is an example of the poster that I will be sending out once I get the go ahead for the event. The date and address for the venue will be added underneath the title and Knewyu section.

The Social Media Images

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Here are some images that I will be putting on Instagram to promote the article and the event. Some of the images that I took of Josh and Aria Vocals will be shared on social media too so that my article and the event can attract different audiences.

There are a variation of The Colours of Black photos because I don’t want it to get old for people’s eyes, but I want it to be easily recognisable, that is why the hand is the background for every image. Also Knewyu’s logo has been faded and included on two of the images so that if someone doesn’t see the event poster, they can type in Knewyu online and find all the information about it.

References:

http://www.apa.org/monitor/mar01/synesthesia.aspx (1 Dec)

Bibliography:

http://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2015/08/18/385202798/janelle-mon-e-releases-visceral-protest-song-hell-you-talmbout (23rd Nov)

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