Keywords: Synaesthesia as Inspiration, Synaesthetic Properties, Ideation, Toolkit, Design
Synaesthetic-provocation toolkit was developed while considering the issue of how to practically use inspiring properties of synaesthesia in ideation process. The three provocative properties of synaesthesia—translation, narrative and mental imagery—were based on the project Three Studies off Synaesthesia.
Synaesthetic Translation Tool
Synaesthetic translation tool has a total of twenty different cards. People can play with the cards and could speculate, stimulate and play their thoughts through any combination of the selected cards. People can combine the cards randomly or intentionally, from one card to another, to gain creative insights for their idea development.
For example, combining the sound card with the weight card means sound can be translated to weight. Combining the pain card to the energy card means pain can be transformed to energy. This rather interactive component of synaesthetic translation tool gives an engaging experience to people. In total, these cards allow people to think and build concepts through around 350 different combinations. Each card can be also interpreted to a different concept, so the touch card can be considered as the idea of tactility, surface, feeling and so on.
I have reinterpreted the types of synaesthesia into subcategories when designing this card. For example, one of the original types of synaesthesia, “sound-vision synaesthesia,” is explored as a sound to shape card, sound to speed card, sound to motion card and so on. I used these terms in order to interpret the concept of vision as shape, motion, speed and so on. I deemed this necessary because the ordinary list of synaesthesia limits the provocative quality of synaesthesia; thus, the cards needed more enhanced and developed information regarding the experience of synaesthesia for better creative user engagements and experience.
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Synaesthetic Mental Imagery Tools
The synaesthetic mental imagery tool contains five different props. Each prop tries to stimulate and convey sensory information to participants. The five tools interact with five traditionally recognized methods of perception, or sense: taste, sight, touch, smell and hearing. Although there are more than Aristotle’s basic five senses in the human body, this choice was due to our familiarity with these particular five senses. Unlike the synaesthetic translation tool and synaesthetic narrative tool, these five tools are designed to be used by participants without processing any particular action. For example smell prop (top-left corner) allows people to experience different smells. They can be sniffed as participants wish, and stimulate their sensory information in order to facilitate their creative dimensions.
Synaesthetic Narrative Tool
The synaesthetic narrative tool within the synaesthetic-provocation toolkit is fifteen selected stories recounting experiences of synaesthesia. It was aimed as an experiment to explore how the story of synaesthesia can affect our creative insights. This tool tries to induce serendipitous inspiration through reading and accessing various synaesthetic stories.
The fifteen stories were selected from those that I read through the above associations. The stories were selected based on the authors' backgrounds, which included a student, a journalist, a university lecturer, a practising artist and a poet, and the particular qualities of their respective stories. Some synaesthetes concisely explain their feelings and some are highly descriptive. The narrative tool is a mixture of these inspiring stories.