multi-disciplinary artist & futures designer

Next Senses
- Synesthesia

What to do when you lose your sense of smell as a chef? When you are disconnected not only from the dishes you cook but also from the people you cook for? In this film, protagonist Franka explains how her synesthesia sense rewired not only her brain but also her cooking process and gave her a unique color and scent pallet to work with, resulting in innovative dishes that she could have never thought of before.

What is Synesthesia?
Synesthesia is an extraordinary phenomenon where a sensation in one of the senses, such as smell, triggers a sensation in another, such as sight. While synesthesia is in itself very rare, odor-visual synesthesia is the rarest. Only 6% of people with synesthesia are having visual experiences when they smell odors.

A Sense of Synesthesia
Grassy, smoky, earthy, caramel, aromatic, herbal, sour, grassy, delicate, citrus. We allowed the terroir of the land to inform the artificial intelligence that categorized each scent and each colour to combine the two in unexpected ways. We asked: what is the colour of a scent? How do our memories relate to scents, and do these correlate to colours or not? Or are there certain colours ‘inherent’ to scents, which we all perceive similarly? This short film invites people to explore the relationship between their sense of smell and their perception of colours.
Our Sense of Smell, in ancient Indian philosophy, is connected to the Root chakra and the Earth element. And yes, our sense of smell can evoke memories of the past, of the land we lived on, of the memories we brought along from there and that can be reawakened when we smell dishes, ponds, or flowers from another era. And so what happens to our identities when we lose our sense of smell, and does it even live up to our expectations if we 'fix' it through technology? Franka may live in a parallel universe where the most colourful dishes smell best, but is she in tune with the sensory compass that others have, or did she just dive deeper into her own matrix?

Exhibited at Labyrinth of the Senses (Sept. 2019) and van Gogh Museum Amsterdam (Nov. 2019)
Language: Dutch + English subtitles

In collaboration with Next Nature Network and Alain de Bruijn. Commissioned by Citysenses.

This production is supported by: Rabobank, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Cultuurfonds Almere, Gemeente Almere, ANBI, Arc2 Architecten, AMR, Voordekunst, TSR, Active Health Foundation.

Gratitude to: Kimchi Wow and Hester Beek (actor).