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US Premiere

C.I.C.T. / Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord’s


Written and directed by Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne

Featuring Kathryn Hunter, Marcello Magni, and Jared McNeill

September 14 – October 5, 2014
Three Weeks Only!

“As we explore the mountains and the valleys of the brain we will reach the valley of astonishment.”

Imagine a world where every sound has a color. Where every color has a taste. Where the number 8 is a fat lady. This breathtaking new play explores the fascinating experiences of real people who see the world in a radically different light.

The Valley of Astonishment is a kaleidoscopic journey into the mysteries and wonders of the human brain, inspired by years of neurological research, true stories, and Farid Attar’s epic mystical poem “The Conference of the Birds.”

Peter Brook and Marie-Hélène Estienne return to TFANA after Fragments and their international hits The Suit and A Magic Flute, with a company featuring Kathryn Hunter (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Kafka’s Monkey), Marcello Magni (Fragments), and Jared McNeill (The Suit at BAM).

Theatre for a New Audience
Polonsky Shakespeare Center
262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn
Between Fulton St. and Lafayette Ave.

$49 with a TFANA season subscription

To purchase:

Call 866-811-4111
Visit the TFANA Box Office in person at 262 Ashland Place, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Box Office Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 1-6pm

Valley of Astonishment, Free Public Events



The Oxford Handbook of Synesthesia, edited by Julia Simner and Edward M. Hubbard

OCAD University and the University of Toronto hosted several free public events in conjunction with the American Synesthesia Association’s conference in Toronto on May 31 – June 2, 2013 in Toronto.

Friday Evening, May 31, 2013

When Sound Meets Colour

7:30 – 10:00 PM Free Public Event

University of Toronto
Walter Hall
80 Queen’s Park Crescent
Toronto, Canada

7:30 – 8:15 PM Samantha Moore, University of Loughborough, UK

Some Sort of Coloured Quilt: Collaborative Animated Responses to Synaesthesia

Samantha Moore, an award winning British animated documentary maker, will speak about her film, An Eyeful of Sound, an animated short that visually renders the perceptions of audio-visual synaesthetes. Samantha received a Wellcome Trust grant which funded her short animated documentary film, An Eyeful of Sound (2010). The film was made in collaboration with Dr Jamie Ward (reader in psychology at the University of Sussex, UK) and three people with synaesthesia was the winner of the Nature Award for Scientific Merit, Imagine Film Festival (USA) 2010, amongst other awards from film festivals internationally. Samantha is currently developing her research as she completes her PhD through practice at the University of Loughborough, and working on a new piece entitled Out of Sight, an animated documentary and representation of interior brain states; she is working with people with prosopagnosia (face blindness) and phantom limb syndrome.

8:15 – 8:45 PM Edward M. Hubbard, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

Overview of the Invitational Music Visualization Workshop

Edward Hubbard, Professor of Psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, will describe and present the initial outcomes and sample visualizations from the Music Visualization Workshop, held earlier in the day.

9:00 – 10:00 PMThe Gryphon Trio, University of Toronto

Musical Performance

The Gryphon Trio will perform select excerpts of music by synesthete composers that they performed earlier in the day, at the Music Visualization Workshop. The music was performed live for a group of synesthetes and non-synesthetes who were asked to create on paper, or on an iPad, what they saw when they listened to the live music.

Saturday Evening, June 1, 2013

Sense Connections

An evening inspired by the synesthetic experience

7:30 – 10:00 PM Free Public Event

OCAD University
Main Auditorium
100 McCaul Street
Toronto, Canada

7:30 – 8:30 PM John M. Kennedy, University of Toronto

Drawing without Vision

How can a blind person draw the world? EW is a blind woman who draws pictures. She has been totally blind since infancy. In an artist statement for an exhibition in Kelowna, 2013, she writes that she is attempting to re-create on paper what she experiences with her non-visual senses. Her targets include tastes, smells, touch, the flow of time, temperature and space. In addition, she tries to capture emotions, atmosphere, feelings, fantasies, ideas, even her own imagination of colours and light. She often combines several of these distinct elements. I will discuss the relation of EW’s goals to synesthesia.

John Kennedy is a University Professor (distinguished rank), and Emeritus, at the Department of Psychology, University of Toronto. His research is in the psychology of perception and cognition with special reference to representation by pictures. He developed a new analysis of figure and ground as one of a set of foreground and background percepts, described as apparent surface borders. ‘I described the complete set of possibilities for surface borders. I then hypothesized which of these were relevant to touch as well as vision. The developmental hypothesis has been supported. Indeed, my most recent papers, in press, support the idea that the highest levels of development possible in drawing in perspective are reached by the blind, as they are by the sighted. This line of investigation was described by the NY Times as one of the ’ideas that change the way we think’ and by The Times as one of the top ten ideas of the year. Associated Press wrote in 2006 my work was seminal and influences the development of new programs in museums and galleries around the world.

8:45 – 10:00 PMChristos Hatzis, Toronto, Canada

Bruno Degazio, Sheridan College,Canada

Harmonia Concept by Christos Hatzis Realization by Bruno Degazio

Christos Hatzis, Professor of Composition at the University of Toronto, is widely recognized as one of the most important composers writing today. A Juno award winner, twice, his works have been commissioned and performed by numerous notable musicians and orchestras worldwide.

Bruno Degazio, Professor of Digital Tools in the BA Classical Animation program of Sheridan College, Canada, is a film sound designer, composer, researcher and educator. His many concert works for traditional and electronic media have been performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia. His film work includes the special-effects sound design for the Oscar-nominated documentary film, The Fires of Kuwait and music for the all-digital, six-channel sound tracks of the IMAX films Titanica, Flight of the Aquanaut and CyberWorld 3D as well as many other IMAX films, feature films, and television dramas.

10:00 PM Greg Jarvis and his band, Flowers of Hell

El Mocambo 464 Spadina Avenue, upstairs

Past News


There is an article by David Brang and V.S. Ramachandran, "Survival of the Synesthesia Gene: Why Do People Hear Colors and Taste Words?"

Other Synesthesia Conferences

The Fourth International Congress of Synesthesia, Science and Art
IV Congreso Internacional de Sinestesia Ciencia y Arte 2012
was held in Almeria, Spain on
February 16 – 19, 2012

UK Synaesthesia Association Conference
Merton College, Oxford
April 14th and 15th 2012

United Kingdom Synaesthesia Association

The members of the UKSA committee are pleased to announce that the 2012 UK Synaesthesia Association annual conference was hosted by Roi Cohen Kadosh, Devin Terhune and Jackie Thompson at Merton College, Oxford over the weekend of 14th & 15th April, 2012.

The Keynote Speakerwas Professor Colin Blakemore, Ph.D., FRS, FMedSci, HonFSR, a leading British scientist and science communicator to the public. Known for his immense contribution on vision and early development of the brain, Professor Blakemore is Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford.


MacMillan Publishers has put out a downloadable electronic kindle edition of Patricia Lynne Duffy's book, Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens.

It is now available from Amazon:

Patricia Albers has written a new book entitled, Joan Mitchell, Lady Painter: A Life. 544 pages. This is the first full-scale biography of the painter Joan Mitchell (1925-1992), a synesthete who had colored letters, colored sound, personality-color synesthesia, and emotionally mediated synesthesia.

Her book can be found on

Tasting the Universe, by Maureen Seaberg is in stores now.

The New York University Consciousness Project held a workshop on "The Phenomenology of Synesthesia" on Saturday November 20, 2010.

Hosted by Dave Chalmers

Synesthesia is the syndrome in which a stimulus in one sensory modality reliably yields an experience associated with a different sensory modality. The focus of the workshop will be the question "What is it like to be a synesthete?". There will be talks and discussion from philosophers, psychologists, and synesthetes.

All are welcome.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

New York University Philosophy Building
5 Washington Place
1st Floor Lecture Theatre

9:30- 10:00 AM

10:00 - 11:00 AM
Carol Steen (Artist, Synesthete, Co-Founder American Synesthesia Association) "Do you see what I see?"

11:15 - 12:15 PM
Lawrence E. Marks (Yale University, Psychology) "Three (scientific) questions about synesthesia".

12:15 - 2:00 PM

2:00 - 3:00 PM
Berit Brogaard (University of Missouri, Philosophy) "Does color synesthesia differ phenomenally from visual imagery?"

3:15 - 5:00 PM
Panel Discussion (led by Jon Simon, Philosophy, NYU) Panel: Berit Brogaard, Patricia Lynn Duffy, Lawrence Marks, Maureen Seaberg, Carol Steen

Synesthesia: Art and the Mind
McMaster Museum of Art
September 18 – December 20, 2008

This exhibition featuring the art of known synesthetes, David Hockney, Joan Mitchell, Marcia Smilack, and Carol Steen, and works by artists thought to be synesthetic including Charles Burchfield, Tom Thomson, Wassily Kandinsky, and Vincent van Gogh, was co-curated by Carol Steen, artist, New York City; and Greta Berman, Professor of Art History, The Juilliard School, New York City. This show was made possible by Carol Podedworny, director, McMaster Museum of Art, and Dr. Daphne Maurer of the Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour at McMaster University.

The exhibition catalog, Synesthesia: Art and the Mind can be ordered from ABC Art Book Canada. $20.00, 62 pages, 11 color reproductions.

Amy Ione and Ellen Levy have written reviews for Leonardo, The MIT Press, about the Synesthesia: Art and the Mind exhibition held at the McMaster Museum of Art, and the Invitational Workshop held on September 25, 2008 in conjunction with the show. The workshop participants included artists, art historians, art professors, scientists, and synesthetes.

Amy Ione's reviews of Synesthesia: Art and the Mind at the McMaster Museum of Art can be found at:

Synesthesia: Art and the Mind, exhibition at McMaster Museum of Art.

Carol Steen images courtesy Carol Steen, © 2008, shown with permission. van Gogh image, courtesy McMaster Museum © 2008, shown with permission. Charles Burchfield images from the Estate of Charles Burchfield courtesy D.C. Moore Gallery, NYC, © 2008, shown with permission. Photo credit Jennifer Pettiplace.

Invitational Workshop Panel for the Synesthesia: Art and the Mind exhibition at the McMaster Museum of Art. From left: Greta Berman, co-curator; Carol Steen, co-curator; Daphne Maurer, Conference Host; Carol Podedworny, director McMaster Museum.

Additional panelists included Patricia Albers, Independent Art Historian, Writer, Mountain View, California; Therese Dolan, Interim Dean and Professor of Art History, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA; Sophia Oftedahl, Independent Art Historian and Curator, Oslo, Norway; and Nancy Weekly, Head of Collections and the Charles Cary Rumsey Curator, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo State College, New York. Sophia Oftedahl, Independent Art Historian and Curator, Oslo, Norway. Patricia Albers, Independent Art Historian, Writer, Mountain View, California.

Hockney images courtesy David Hockney: The Garden from L'Enfant et les Sortileges, 1980; Act II, Scene VIIA, Trial by Fire from Magic Flute, 1977; Act II, Scene III; A Moonlit Garden, from Magic Flute, 1977; © 2008 David Hockney, shown with permission. Kandinsky image, courtesy McMaster Museum © 2008, shown with permission. Photo credit Carter Jones.

Ellen Levy's commentary on the Invitational Workshop at the McMaster Museum of Art can be found at:

Participants at the Synesthesia: Art and the Mind Invitational Workshop. Front row, Charles Maurer and David Shore

Invitational Workshop participants. From left, Patricia Albers, Greta Berman, Carol Steen, and Marcia Smilack.

McMaster Museum of Art

On February 2, 2008 PRI's Studio360 broadcast a radio program on synesthesia entitled, "Synesthesia for the Rest of Us". The program was hosted by Kurt Andersen and created by producer Michael May. V.S. Ramachandran, Richard Cytowic, Debra Ginsberg and Carol Steen were featured.

Synesthesia for the Rest of Us

Synesthesia causes people to hear music – or see letters or numbers – in color. Neuroscience is beginning to unravel what’s going on in the brains of people with this cerebral phenomenon, but hasn’t yet explained why the genetic mutation exists. V.S. Ramachandran, Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at UC San Diego, has a theory, as he explains to producer Michael May.

Download MP3

Synesthesia Bringing Out the Contours

Features recent paintings by Carol Steen.

The article, written by Frances McDonald, was first published in
Australian Art Review issue 11, July-October 2006.

Synesthesia Bringing Out the Contours pdf