Experience synesthesia this March, presented by VRcadia and Platero Visual, featuring live music by JoJo Worthington and live painting by Kristyn Watterworth. The event will be taking place in VRcadia’s visually responsive lounge at 750 Richmond Street on Friday March 8 between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Tickets start at $40 per person
Edward Platero is the creative director of Platero Visual and also experiences synesthesia, a condition in which one sensual experience triggers another sense response. He has the specific type of synesthesia called chromesthesia or sound-colour synesthesia, which means he sees colour when hearing music. He describes his experience as “living in a painting”, and found virtual reality (VR) to be the perfect medium to translate his condition.
Growing up I thought it was something everyone had. I didn’t know what to do with it for a very long time,” said Edward. “It’s so immersive that it I can push people into that state of experiencing synesthesia.”
The musical instrument Platero created to imitate his condition is called Chroma. It uses a camera to capture brush strokes on a canvas, which are then turned into music. The colour, transparency, and brush movement determine the specific musical note, which then build into chords as the painting continues.
When painter Kristyn Watterworth had a chance to try out the technology, she was awestruck.
“My mind was blown,” she said. “It was an incredible experience having my colours modify the sound. Once the colours started changing the music, the music began to inform my painting, and it became this beautiful feedback loop.”
The evening is divided into two parts. In the first half, JoJo will perform a set with Zach Cockburn and Jason Brum while Kristyn paints JoJo’s stage background live via projection.
Then, Kristyn and JoJo will perform a duet: Kristyn will paint and have Chroma create music from her work while JoJo will sing along with the painting in real time. For an extra fee, an attendee can take home the created artwork or buy limited prints of her other artworks.
During the performances, visitors will be welcome to slip on virtual reality headsets and explore different paintings created by Kristyn using Google Tilt Brush, a 3D painting software. The digital paintings will also react to JoJo’s music and attendees will have the ability to add their own brush strokes.
JoJo described the concert as “crazy and magical.”
“I think this is where the future of music is going,” she added.
VRcadia co-owner Shishir Pande hopes the attendees will leave with a feeling of the shared empathy VR can create.
“We hope that people leave the event with realization that there isn’t just one way to experience or share worlds. Through virtual reality and shared community experiences, you can broaden your mindset to understand conditions like synesthesia.”