IE University presents “Synesthesia,” a new proposal for Creativity Day

@Roberto Arribas

The IE University Creativity Center, located in the Segovia Royal Mint’s cultural building, hosted a new edition of Creativity Day entitled “Synesthesia,” under the leadership of IE University Campus Life.

The full program of activities included an art and design exhibition, workshops dedicated to discovering and awakening synesthetic sensations, creative culinary demonstrations and musical performances.

The 2020 edition focused on the concept of synesthesia, a particular way of “feeling” the world. It’s experienced by some people who perceive a certain sense simultaneously with the characteristics of other senses. The term synesthesia comes from the fusion of the two Greek words syn, meaning “together,” and aisthesis, meaning “sensation.” One example of synesthesia is hearing a musical note  while also perceiving that sound as a color. The organizers’ goal was to elicit different synesthetic experiences in each viewer through all kinds of creative activities.

Photo by Roberto Arribas

The primary objective of Creativity Day is to publicize the various cultural and artistic initiatives conducted by IE University students and, in turn, to raise awareness of how creative innovation adds immense value to higher education.

Sponsors of Creativity Day included the Segovia City Hall Tourism Office and Provincial Council, as well as several local companies such as Restaurante Maracaibo, De Bote en Bote, Restaurante Casares and Cerveza SanFrutos. Other businesses, artists and cultural figures from Segovia also participated.

The Creativity Center was decorated by local artist Alberto Fernández Hurtado and his students from the Center, with various artifacts and objects intended to stimulate visitors’ senses. They transformed the building into a “map of sensations.”

Photo by Roberto Arribas

The organization usually places “Do not touch” signs on all exhibitions in order to protect the material on display. In the case of IE University’s Creativity Day, however, they did the opposite. The objects presented in the “Learning by Doing” exhibition, which were created by IE University design students, could be touched and examined by attendees to stimulate sensations beyond the purely visual.

In addition, the IE University Center for Health, Well-Being & Happiness prepared a qigong (or chi kung) activity. This art form aims to understand, use and optimize the energy of the human body as understood by traditional Chinese medicine. The goal was to awaken the so-called “sixth sense.”

In addition, the Vietnamese architecture student, painter and chef Do Xuan Hoang created a gastronomic event, building a culinary work of art on a canvas. While he worked, DJ Poliester played music to create a synesthetic sensation among attendees. Once the artwork was completed, the audience was invited to taste it.

The organizers of Creativity Day challenged four prominent restaurants in Segovia to create tapas related to different senses. In addition to taste, each tapa had to evoke a second sense when sampled. De Bote en Bote focused on hearing, Restaurante Maracaibo on smell, Restaurante Casares on sight and Restaurante Pasapán on touch. The Provincial Council’s Alimentos de Segovia (“Foods of Segovia”) brand provided dessert, with their famous Delicias de Cuéllar cookies and yogurts from Sacramenia, a town in the province of Segovia.

Photo by Roberto Arribas

Area 31 of the Creativity Center presented the “Synesthetic Beer” project, promoted by the Beer Club and Cerveza SanFrutos local brewery. La Agencia Sensorial (“The Sensory Agency”), dedicated to working with sensory, emotional and experiential concepts, offered a masterclass on sensorial marketing. This activity was presented in collaboration with the IE University Women in Business Club.

Creativity Day also featured Carlos Pallero, a specialist in creative education and psychology. He gave a talk, organized by the Journalism Club, on different types of learning according to people’s creative abilities.

As for music, sound engineer David Gómez of the Four Hands Project prepared a selection of sounds to inspire synesthesia among attendees. Meanwhile, members of the Music Club played a series of musical pieces entitled “What do your songs smell like?” During the musical performances, La Agencia Sensorial filled the room with a whole spectrum of scents to complement each piece and stimulate the audience’s senses.

The program concluded with teacher and artist Alberto Barreiro of the IE University School of Human Sciences & Technology. He led a workshop entitled “Paint Your Taste,” in which participants decorated bottles of “synesthetic beer.”

Several IE University clubs (including the Eco Club, eRotaract Club and SDG Club) led a workshop on recycling garbage, demonstrating how waste can become a piece of art and, ultimately, something useful. Finally, the IE University library provided visitors with a set of board games, to spark their creativity and synesthetic sensations.

Photo by Roberto Arribas

CREATIVITY CENTER

IE University’s Segovia campus boasts an innovative space where original thinking, constructive imagination, the exchange of ideas and the implementation of cultural and entrepreneurial projects take center stage. This space is the IE University Creativity Center, which has just completed its third year of operation in Segovia, under the tutelage of IE University Campus Life.

Like other international institutions of higher education, such as Stanford University in the United States, IE University has supplemented its state-of-the-art facilities with a building specifically designed to increase the creative potential of its students. Located in the Segovia Royal Mint complex, the Creativity Center’s objective is to encourage IE University students—and other young people in the city—to tap into their inner painter, photographer or musician. There, IE University develops an ecosystem of innovation where young people can share and enhance their creativity, cultural hobbies and entrepreneurial skills.

Photo by Roberto Arribas

Throughout its three-year history, the center has welcomed first-rate professionals from various artistic and entrepreneurial fields to present masterclasses, host workshops and display their latest work. These figures include the likes of Alberto Barreiro, Viet Ha Tran, Agnieszka Holland, Andrew McCarthy, Mónica de la Fuente, Javier Tolentino, Luther Russell, Jon Dornaletexte, Bart Davenport, Manuel Tevar, Manuel Feijóo, Andrea Caruso, Ritxi Ostáriz, Matan Mayer, David Goodman, Regina Llamas and Vincent Doyle.

In the 2019–2020 academic year, the program of activities has so far included several courses on a wide range of subjects: painting with local artist Alberto Fernández Hurtado, film directing with Pedro Collantes, corporate identity with illustrator Fede Yankelevich, music production with Segovia native David Gómez (of the Four Hands Project) and art theory with Carmen Van Bruggen.