Sensing Time: Time-Space Synaesthesia

The 5th International Conference and Festival on Time Perspectives

13-17 July, 2020

Vilnius, Lithuania

Arts Program

The Arts Program of the 5th International Conference and Festival on Time Perspectives is focused on – time-space synaesthesia. Synaesthesia, a fascinating phenomena on its own, can loosely be defined as “senses coming together” (coming from Greek: syn – together, esthesia from aesthesis – sensation). It is a condition when a certain sense or part of a sense is activated while another unrelated sense or part of a sense is activated concurrently. “A neural short-circuiting that enables such strange phenomena as hearing colors, seeing sounds, and tasting smells”.

Some people experience time-space or sequence-space synesthesia, when they see the world around them in terms of dates and time. As one person describes it: “My mental calendar lives in my field of vision … my brain connects spatial awareness with the perception and understanding of time. To put it simply, time is all around me.”

For one person Tuesday is yellow and for another it is grey with a tweedy texture. There are people for whom time runs right to left, and an unknown future hides behind the back. Others describe their personal calendar as a Möbius strip and spring is on a vertical downward part of the sidewalk while autumn is across it on the vertical upward slope. Yet another experiences that a year is a circle slightly flattened on the bottom, etc.

Following Kandisnky’s fascination with the ideas of gesamtkunstwerk (“synthesis of arts”), the interrelationship of different kinds of art and their influence on human perception, Sensing Time is dedicated to synthesizing various approaches of investigating the concept of time in general and time-space synaesthesia in particular.

Kandinsky theorized that “every art has its own strength which cannot be substituted for another”; however, they complement each other. In a similar way, Sensing Time unifies scientific research and its applications with the arts. It also believes that every form of inquiry has its own strengths, and when combined they create a more holistic view of the phenomena in question.

Sensing Time is dedicated to the exploration of how time is sensed, perceived and expressed in various mediums. Examples include when the visual arts combined with music, when time is captured in photography, when research results inspire a performance or an installation.

Moreover, we are going to create experiential spaces where various senses will be engaged. These spaces will either speed up the inner flow of time, or slow it down to the experience of timelessness. It will also allow for and invite an embodied experience of how it is to live with time-space synaesthesia. Therefore we can explore how every art form fosters mindfulness or develops a particular emotional response in the viewer.


Concept developed by Time Perspective Network – Denmark in collaboration with Creative Time Studio