Salt Lake Community College

Peter Wiarda - "Synæsthesia" Art Exhibition

Artist Peter Wiarda will exhibit twelve experimental photographs that represent his unique ability to “see sound” in the exhibition “Synæsthesia,” opening Wednesday, September 15 through November 8, 2021 at SLCC’s South City Campus, Center for Art and Media, Edna Runswick Taylor Foyer, East Entrance 1575 S. State St, Salt Lake City, 84115.

“Synæsthesia is a neurological condition in which two or more of the senses are linked together, resulting in a combination of sensory or cognitive perceptions. I have a type of synæsthesia in which I am able to "see" sound. Every sound I hear has a corresponding visual element that appears in my field of vision, overlapping my entire visible world with colorful, undulating abstract forms that change as quickly as sound travels. I create abstract representations of my synæsthetic experiences of sound and music through photography.

'Using long exposures to pan the camera across multicolored neon lights, I am able to replicate visual effects similar to my synæsthetic manifestations. I have developed a range of focus settings and camera motions to represent the different types of sonic expressions I see. It is a highly intuitive process that requires much trial and error to produce a satisfactory image. I primarily work in digital photography for this reason; the finished artwork may be my 10th, 20th, or 50th iteration. Though I was born with synæsthesia, I didn't realize it was unusual to see sound until 2014 when I heard about a person with a similar condition on an episode of Radiolab. I started this project as an attempt to show the world what only I can see. By visualizing synæsthesia through photography, I hope to inspire fellow synæsthetes to explore how their own unique perceptions can be utilized in art. In addition, I hope that my project can be used to bring awareness to the general public about this rare and little-understood brain condition.”

--Peter Wiarda


Peter Wiarda is a fine art photographer specializing in architectural, interior, abstract, and experimental photography. Interested in the craft from an early age, Peter made the leap from casual hobbyist to aspiring professional when he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Utah State University in 2014. He now lives and works in Salt Lake City, enjoying its metropolitan setting through multiple creative projects.

Monday, November 8, 2021 at 8:00am to 10:00pm

South City Campus, Center for Art and Media, Edna Runwick Taylor Foyer, East Entrance 1575 S. State St, Salt Lake City, 84115

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South City Campus






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