Tasting Colour – Unpicking the Pigments of Metaphor

Tasting Colour – Unpicking the Pigments of Metaphor

Workshop led by Amy Neilson Smith

Date: Saturday 17th June, 2017 11.30-3.30pm, Dissenters Gallery, Kensal Green cemetery

Cost: £5 (please bring cash)

Have you ever tasted colour by stepping into the magical world of synaesthesia? This workshop will explore how to magnify your sensorial experience – as you drift through the crossmodal portal – becoming immersed in a world flavoured with colour. Whilst blindfolded, you will ascend through a gateway and unpick the very pigment of metaphor itself – moving away from flat visual description and opening up ‘image’ into a fully-feeling three-dimensional existence. Never uttered a metaphor or poetic line before? We use metaphor to translate thought in our conversations every single day, very simply: “It is not just about mastering it, but transforming it, because metamorphosis is the basis of every magical operation” (Jan Svankmajer – translated by Tereza Stehlikova). We all have internal echoes of memory and past experiences to call upon our inner ‘metaphorical specialist’.

How can we eat darkness and light? And how can this translate to the innerscapes of our imaginations, then be voiced as discoveries in the outerscapes of sensory poetics? A thought on the power of ‘shared metaphor’: “The vibrations of the words’ meanings then trigger synaptic electricity which creates the pull between the synapses to increase. The thoughts of ‘new logic’ then explode like the momentary creation of a new internal universe; the ‘poetical butterfly effect’ shifts through the room where the listeners’ heads contain is a symbiotic synaptic dance – all moving to the music of their own brain’s orchestration, translating each metaphor into a logic that expands their own personal understanding.” (from Poetical Body).

In the second half, you will be given the gift of ‘tactile conversation’ (inspired by an earlier workshop by Tereza Stehlikova) – moulding clay within a voiceless tactile expression, then emerging from this silence into the exploration of storytelling and reminiscence. Sensory immersion allows us to let go of the imprisonment of ‘the adult mind’. Rudolf Steiner describes children as “whole sense organs”. Why don’t we allow ourselves as feeling adults to be submerged fully in our sensory world? Perhaps there is a sense of danger in doing this? A sense of vulnerability and fear? Can we loosen this artistically crippling fear of risk, and open up to the sensorial perception of others? Find unity in this? Our workshop provides a creative cocoon in which to let go – within the privacy of pair-work and sensitive discussion. We will be shutting the ‘aesthetic human lens’, exploring in the quiet peace of closed eyes and the searching antennae of our fingertips.

Image from Tereza Stehlikova’s Red Riding Hood

Amy Neilson Smith is a poet, performance artist and Sensory Poetry Educator developing the Spoken Word Education Program (Artistic Director Jacob Sam La-Rose) at Goldsmiths University for students with visual impairment and complex needs – using taste and smell to create a metaphorical perception of colour. Current publications and research include: Dark Matter – a poetry collection (William Cornelius Harris Publishing); A Blind Bit of Difference – an anthology of poems, created and edited alongside visually impaired students from Joseph Clarke School and glowingly reviewed by Michael Rosen (Alba Publishing, due for release Autumn 2017); Poetical Body – a graphic novel-style poetry theory book in which ‘the poem’ takes on human form (in draft); and Sensory Poetry Education (in research phase of PhD). Amy is currently collaborating with Kate Dangerfield creating ‘sensory poetry film’ with visually impaired students from Touch Base (in association with Sense and funded by the BFI).



Note: The workshop is from a series of sensory workshops, conceived and curated by Tereza Stehlikova, which run on monthly basis, and explore all the senses in the context of art, science and play.

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