Sensory and Light Art: A New Revival of Synesthesia Artists
It is not news to say the past few years have exacerbated individual mental health as a greater public health global problem. Recent fine art trends have paralleled this greater awareness of psychological understanding and mental equilibrium. Historically, art has been a sensory experience that oftentimes reflects the artist's feelings, emotions, point of view, psychology, social observations or scientific theoretical philosophy. This often reflects social or political conditions of the day and that is no different in the current climate. The public awareness of various medical conditions that are connected to psychology and neuro connections has increased in the past years where conversations have opened about those suffering from various syndromes, ADHD, those on the spectrum and more. In fact, Michigan State University has been exploring the benefits of art therapy in order to aid their clients in expressing their inner thoughts and feelings. (1) Cathy Malchiodi, a leading expert in today’s art therapy movement, states that through art therapy “people may find relief from overwhelming emotions, crises or trauma. They may discover insights about themselves, increase their sense of well-being, enrich their daily lives through creative expression, or experience personal transformation.” (2) https://amzn.to/3bnecRX
The research that has resulted in this open interest has resulted in positive therapies that include art. In most public museums and many galleries, immersive exhibitions have become more and more popular.(3)
Credit: Imagine Van Gogh Exhibition (purplearchives.com)
Immersive exhibitions like the Imagine Van Gogh Exhibition (which has been popular worldwide) are one of the best examples of this. The return to artists who are able to express feelings through the two-dimensional plane of oil painting combined with new technology to create a sensory and immersive experience has become a popular exhibition item. It appeals to all ages from newborn to old age.
Synesthesia is absolutely fascinating and Van Gogh’s work is the epitome of its effects. Synesthesia is where an individual experiences one sense for another. For example, during conversation one person could be talking about turnips growing that summer and the synesthesia individual would see pink or green instead of hearing the conversation or taste a kiwi fruit when someone says train. Many synesthetes say that it makes concentration and reading difficult when they see colors others cannot and have shifting tastes. Their senses are constantly shifting with colors constantly in motion, tastes constantly changing and hear music while looking at a painting or a sunset. These constantly shifting senses through other senses has no neurological explanation other than their neurons fire in different patterns than non-synesthesia individuals. Lucky enough for those who are unable to experience such an amazing sensory experience, we have immersive art experiences here in Melbourne and you can visit them today, I have listed
The most popular immersive experience, globally, is the Van Gogh Exhibition that can be experienced in various places around the world as it is a traveling exhibition. Van Gogh’s works are projected onto the walls sometimes animated or shifting with music and it gives us a taste of what Synesthesia individuals would experience on the daily. These exhibitions are extremely popular these days with children and young families especially.
Sensory/Digital Museum and its popularity has skyrocketed since the pandemic. The pandemic allowed a transition to the digital space that was unprecedented. We now are able to work from home adequately, despite the technology already available, its use was modified effectively to suit the work from home space. With everyone confined to zones and their homes, the digital space was utilized more effectively in more ways than one. This included the Museum space. 3D exhibitions, online exhibitions such as DKH Gallery were embraced as an escapist activity that we could as a collective engage with and enjoy for all ages. Sensory museums thrived under these circumstances as we slowly transitioned out of lock-down and enjoyed previously restricted freedoms of tourism and travel. The sensory experience combines the digital space we have become familiar with the outdoor immersive experience we craved while exploring art works that many have consistently enjoyed.
The benefits of art therapy and immersive exhibitions are apparent and I for one cannot wait for the new immersive exhibitions that are coming up here in Melbourne. To help you with the winter sensory experiences that I have talked about in this blog, I have compiled the upcoming attractions in Melbourne where you can experience the benefits yourself! Check them out below.
Melbourne Immersive Exhibitions Attractions on Now
Melbournes Immersive Learning Lab (https://museumsvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/whats-on/worlds-immersive/)
Rising Melbourne (https://rising.melbourne/)
Darkfield Australia (https://www.darkfield.com.au/)
Imaginaria 2022 (https://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/imaginaria)
The Lume Digital Art Experience (https://www.ticketmaster.com.au/the-lume-melbourne-tickets)
If you want to learn more about art therapy and its benefits check out the following resources
The Art Therapy Sourcebook, Cathy Malchiodi