ROUNDHOUSE: Synes

Vetyver collaborated with Nick Ryan, The London Contemprary Orchestra and Quayola & Sinigaglia to create a truly multi-sensory performance for Imogen Heap's Reverb Festival at The Roudhouse.

Nick Ryan, musician and audio specialist, is well known for his work across the fields of film, animation, TV, interactive and is at the forefront of technology and sound design. Nick experiences ‘Sound-to-colour Synesthesia or ‘Chromesthesia’, where sounds involuntarily evoke an experience of colour in his imagination.

This has had a huge influence on his work as a composer and in his piece “Synes", where he worked with us and  visual artists Quayola & Sinigaglia to explore his synesthesia. The music was performed by the London Contemporary Orchestra and transformed into a multi-sensory experience with live visuals and environmental scents.

We were invited to consider how the sense of smell contributes to both the creative composition process and the final performance, working with Nick to explore this sensory stimulus and push the boundaries of what constitutes an multi-sensory experience. Through a series of consultations and workshops, scents were developed to inspire Nick and the musicians during the composition process and to be used as part of the live performance.

Scenting performance on a large scale has always been problematic and we designed custom-build technology to achieve something really effective that makes use of The Roundhouse’s unique space. It enabled the possibility of scoring the performance so different smells work at different points in the performance in sync with the music and visual scores.