Writing, Drawing and Seeing in Different Ways: Synesthesia workshops

In recent months we have had two Synesthesia workshops at CCRI. The first one, led by Jonathan Wyatt, explored the links between stand-up and autoethnography. Jonathan told us stories, showed us clips of some stand-up comedians and then invited us to write in different ways in order that we could tell life stories that were sad but so that we could maintain some distance from them. In this way, he made us work on our stories with a sense of humour. Jonathan managed to move between the sad and the funny, holding the space for reflection on ways of telling our lives.  

A participant of Jonathan’s workshop said afterwards:

“When we did the exercise I had a real epiphany and started writing creatively, I felt. I have since done more writing of this kind and will try to structure my dissertation (autoethnography) around this new writing concept”. 

Our second Synesthesia workshop was facilitated by Candela Sanchez, introducing us to the use of sketching as methodology. We met in room 4.1 and explored drawing with various constraints. We started using writing as a way of describing objects, with the goal of having a contrast between the wording and the sketching. 

The participants were challenged to complete drawings within 30 seconds or one minute. We also played with drawing without raising the pencil from the paper, and using the shadows instead of the lines of the object. Through these exercises the participants found themselves drawing in different ways and, I would say, seeing in a different way.

With Candela, we reflected on how these exercises on seeing can allow us to comprehend our positions regarding paradigms (ontology, epistemology and methodology) in a concrete way; observing things in front of us and dealing with the actual process of ‘describing’ in different ways. 

These workshops help me reflect on my work on transitional objects and phenomena, exploring the borders of the inner/outer and allowing places for the in-between. Using our drawing, or our stories, we are exploring how we are making the world-at-hand, understanding our positionality; our particular hand/voice; and our capacity to represent/perform stories.

Next week we continue our Synesthesia project with a workshop that will mix the body in movement with visual arts ways of mark-making, led by me and Susan Mackay. In April’s workshop, we will further delve into the body in movement, with introductory practices of Dance Therapy as a way of researching with Barbara Erber. Finally in May, we will close with a collective assemblage, under the practices of Music Therapy led by Leonelo Bazurro.

Gabriel Soler

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