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Faculty Colloquium with Carrie Firman

My Thoughts  Appeared in the Sky: A Synestheste meets the Aurora

Thursday,  January 28 @ 4:00 pm

Join via WebEx:

Abstract / During my fall 2019 sabbatical, I spent two months in the Arctic Circle of Norway, studying the scientific basis, cultural connections, and experience of Aurora Borealis. I captured images and time lapse sequences of the Northern Lights as source material for the creation of motion graphics. The resulting works are short videos combining inspiration from the aurora along with my experience of synesthesia. Synesthesia is “the union of the senses,” such as perceiving shape and color when hearing music or picturing spatial arrangements of time. Synesthesia is a consistent, real perceptual experience which can be confirmed with testing or fMRI scans, and is not simply a metaphorical expression. Those of us who experience it, called synethetes, have completely unique experiences from one another. The fleeting, layered, transparent, moving, organic qualities of the Northern Lights are relatable to many synesthetes who experience automatic abstract mental imagery as a response to sound, music, emotion, taste, and more.

Bio / Carrie C Firman is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design who holds a BA in Commercial Design (Lycoming College, Williamsport, PA) and an MFA in Visual Studies (State University of New York at Buffalo). She has been awarded professional artist residencies in the US, Northern Ireland, England, Iceland (3x), and Norway. Carrie has presented her digital art and design work about the experience of synesthesia at several international interdisciplinary conferences, including the Center for Consciousness Studies, UK Synaesthesia Association (3x), American Synesthesia Association (4x), and the International Association of Synaethetes, Artists, and Scientists (IASAS). She works in various digital media, including installation, drawing, photography, design, and motion graphics, and has self-published two books. Read and see more at


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