"If your 'a' isn't pink, you need vitamins."
Carol Steen, artist & synesthete

Synesthetic Keyboard (2011)

Grapheme-color cross-sensory experiences are the most common form of synesthesia. As Carol gently jokes with her fellow synesthetes, she shows how personal and ingrained their associations are. Given that letters and numbers are fixed systems, individuals with this type of synesthesia are often sought for studies by researchers. These studies tell us quite a bit about the general nature of the phenomenon, as many of the triggers for other types of synesthesia aren't so easily controlled and/or presented in as objective a way as an established written language. While I don't experience this type of synesthesia, I created this piece for those who do, as well as those interested in experimenting with color and characters.

Built in Processing, a platform that uses Java-based coding, this piece chooses a random color for each letter and number every time the page is refreshed. It is an investigation into grapheme-color synesthesia and the strengths/capabilities that manifest to those who experience it. I also wrote two versions for grapheme-color synesthetes I know, who had mapped out their unique colors for each of the characters.

Unfortunately, given the changes in the way Java installs, needs security clearance, and how different browsers have drastically changed their cooperation with it in the last several years, I have removed the live code from my website. Below are images captured during the process of two versions.

Version 1.5, with a square-framed space
Firman Synesthetic Keyboard
Version 2.0, with a word processing feel
Firman Synesthetic Keyboard