Brandon Blommaert’s 2015 film e:e:e:e:e: might just be the most successful exploration of synesthesia I’ve seen. The clattering sound and pulsing visuals of the first 30 seconds are somehow tactile—I can physically feel the film as much as I can see and hear it. It’s something like the “spine tingle” of ASMR, but without the connection to real-world images and sounds. From his description, it seems like Blommaert was mostly focused on exploring the the visualization of sound, but he might have stumbled across something more.
Even if it doesn’t give you the same response, it’s still worth a watch. Blommaert is one of the most interesting artists around when it comes to computer-generated animation. Along with folks like Peter Burr and Sam Hochman, he seems much more concerned with carving out his own language than in trying to replicate what anyone else is working on. In this case, he’s restricted himself to a monochrome green palette, and as far as I can see, there’s nothing directly representational in the film, but it still feels right. It’s like an electron microscope pointed directly at the sounds—somehow alien and familiar all at once.
Best experienced on a large screen in a dark room, just slightly louder than you’re comfortable with.
*Full disclosure: Brandon is a former QAS artist and member, and the founder of our annual animation festival, GIRAF