Crossmodalism: Mysterious Events that will take you by Surprise

photo: Javier Blanco Chiocchio

So many things happening in Berlin and yet you’re scrolling through your event app with nothing that quite strikes up for fancy? You can escape the same old scenarios of the usual entertainment like I did a few weeks ago. I left my house with no idea as to what would await me – I ended up blindfolded in a candlelit basement with a bunch of strangers and loved every minute of it. Crossmodalism is a relatively fresh movement redefining our ideas of concepts like classical music, theatre, cooking, or even science – with their sensory-stimulating events. Read on to find out more!

The group originated in London in 2013, bringing together a concert pianist who studied at one of the ‘best’ schools of music in the world, a cook with some of the world’s most ‘prestigious’ restaurants on their resume; an Experience Designer, a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford, and a perfumer trained in chemistry. Their name stems from a term popularised by Professor Charles Spence at the Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the University of Oxford.

photo: Crossmodalism

The development of Crossmodalism was fueled by the desire to break boundaries through non-traditional collaboration. It grew through curiosity, through people who are keen to explore beyond their specialisations and create something completely new, that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. It provided a space for people to get together and talk. Crossmodalism is nothing but an idea, and one that is shaped by every practitioner within it. That being said, everyone is welcome to contribute their thoughts – each event is followed with a lively Q&A round with the audience.

photo: Crossmodalism

photo: Javier Blanco Chiocchio

So what can you expect when you come across an event on Facebook with the Crossmodalism label? Hard to say. Their London highlights include projects like the Crossmodalist Cabaret, or The Feelies, a  Multisensory VR Project. From experiencing the smell of intriguing perfume during a classical music concert or being forced out of your comfort zone to listen to Portuguese poetry like I was – anything can happen. And according to Chris Lloyd, one of the group’s founding members – even more so in Berlin – ”it offers opportunities that London never could; the affordability alone offers spaces and room to experiment that London doesn’t. Berliners in particular are extremely proud to experiment and support new creation, but also have enough of an idea of what is quality and what is not to make informed judgements on whether their support continues or not. There is a great need for science to be communicated to a wider audience here, with some of the world’s top researchers in the city, who can’t necessarily break out of the system and push new methods of disseminating their knowledge. Likewise, the tech/startup industries have much to gain from collaboration with both artistic and scientific developments, and likewise, the artists and scientists can utilise being at the heart of technological development in Europe to develop their own craft further.”

photos: Joe Sarah

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