Nobuho Nagasawa’s Synaesthesia Playground

The project is conceived and led by “Young Steinway Artist” Jocelyn Ho  (SBU Doctor of Musical Arts candidate 2016), and developed by Nagasawa along with another visual artist, five composers, three software developers, two computer scientists, and two fashion designers. “Synaesthesia Playground” combines music and sartorial art that will redefine the boundaries of the classical music, which will manifest at new music venues across the world with a world premiere concert scheduled at Stony Brook Recital Hall, and New York City in May.  This multi-disciplinary collaboration will result in six multimedia works to be featured in an international recital tour spanning the Americas, Australia, China, and Europe.

Recent scientific studies have shown that our senses are not as distinct as we once believed. Instead, they constantly talk to each other in our adaptive, plastic brains. This means that we don’t just listen with ears: sounds really do sound icy cold (temperature), sweet (taste), and radiant (sight). People whose senses intermingle particularly acutely are said to have the condition “synaesthesia.”  Synaesthesia inspires a new way of conscious listening: through all the senses of our bodies.

Using a variety of sensors on the body, new compositions will present the heartbeat, body movement, and body temperature of the pianist as triggers within audiovisual music in collaboration with the attire Nagasawa will design. By creating an interactive sartorial art that will be activated by the performer’s bodily rhythms, the performing body will become an augmented artwork itself, transforming the practice of music performance. This interactive attire, made from “woven” optical fiber, will pulsate with different bodily rhythms. The work itself will be a soulful journey of the connection between mind, body, and music.

“Synaesthesia Playground” Team:
Project leader and composer-pianist: Jocelyn Ho (Stony Brook)
FAHSS lead faculty and visual artist: Nobuho Nagasawa (New York)
Visual artist:, Takafumi Ide (Stony Brook) Composers: Daniel Weymouth (Stony Brook), Anne-Sophie Andersen (Stony Brook), Sidney Boquiren (New York) , Celeste Oram (New Zealand), and Andrew BattRawden (Australia) Software developers: Drew and Alex Petersen (Brooklyn),  Ben Finchley (Australia) Programmer and technical management: Pierre Depaz (New York) Computer scientist: Roy Shilkrot (Israel / Boston) Fashion designers: Bopha Hul and Troy Arnold of HUL ARNOLD (New York)

Sponsored by the Faculty in the Arts, Humanities and lettered Social Sciences (FAHSS), the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Vice President for Research at Stony Brook University.

Model: Jocelyn Ho, Fiber art: Nobuho Nagasawa, Fashion Designers: Bopha Hul and Troy Arnold of HUL ARNOLD.