Works that fuse the senses are often referred to as “synesthetic art.” Computers, which offer the possibility of controlling and synchronizing different media and implementing highly abstract compositional structures across media, seem an ideal tool for synesthetic art. This essay argues that a structural approach to such an art form is inadequate, and that it must be grounded in its potential symbolic functions. Starting from a brief examination of synesthesia as a neurological phenomenon and a sketch of the origins and influence of Baudelaire's poetics of synesthesia, this essay suggests points of departure for a poetics of multisensory composition.

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