The synaesthesia matrix

by Adele Caemmerer and Chloe Caemmerer | 1 September 2015

surprising connections lead to the best discoveries

By Adele Caemmerer in conversation with Chloe Caemmerer

All my life, I have been surrounded by artists of one sort or another, so it’s no wonder that teaching and creating visual art emerged as my vocational path. My father and brother are architects, my mother a master gardener and craftsperson, all of them musicians. I am married to a director and teacher of theatre. Both of our daughters chose theatre as their course of study: one pursuing scenic design and the other acting. For me, it is simply a matter of relational survival to be “multi-lingual” across these various forms and as a visual artist in the midst of all this there is no ignoring the deeply interconnected nature of the arts. By proxy, teaching tools in one media can be delightfully effective in another. This spring, I developed a teaching tool in my art classroom that I think you, as a theatre teacher, might find useful in your classroom. I call it the synaesthesia matrix and I’m going to walk you through how I came to develop it, how I teach it and how I think it could be helpful in deepening the creative process of theatre students.

I see the artist as a synthesizer, one who commits to awareness of the human experience, noting details and patterns then presenting these observations to the world. I would venture to say this is true for the practitioner of any art form. A few years back, while living in India, I began to document my rides in all kinds of vehicles: cars, rickshaws, trains, planes.

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