Synaesthesia

Authors

  • Helen Palmer

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1344/jnmr.v2i2.35896

Abstract

The following entry includes firstly a list of synaesthetic portals, and secondly an initial table of scaled sensory modalities following Felicity Colman’s ‘Fragment of a Modalities Map’ (Colman, 2019, p. 985-987).  James Joyce famously begins his ‘Proteus’ chapter of Ulysses with Stephen Dedalus describing the ‘ineluctable modality of the visible’ (Joyce, 1922, p. 37). Synaesthesia presents a phenomenon whereby the modality is not merely ineluctible but is also a portal that can potentially link one sensory realm to another, suggesting an infrastructural connectivity that links ostensibly individuated or hermetically differentiated perceptual fields. To describe this process as merely the condition of synaptic short-circuitry affecting a small percentage of human animals does not account for the ways in which synaesthesia is always already at play in all the regular sensory categories, in its experience as and between what analytic philosophers call ‘qualia’, neither does it account for also the ways it can be played as if it were an instrument itself. Perception in general can be perceived as an organ within itself: a desiring organ, as Vicki Kirby says in Quantum Anthropologies (2011, p. 120).

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Published

2021-07-26

Issue

Section

Almanac (Open Form)