Perversion for the Five Senses

Editorial/Curatorial: Get ready to exercise that atrophied imagination of yours! Multi-sensorial imagination isn’t your granny’s single-channel hallucination (‘seeing colors while listening to music’), it’s more than a stretch for y’all to ideate in 5D, don’t fool yourselves. Plus to differentiate the sensoria of psychosocial norms in a way that prevents them from ‘falling back into the darkness of the undifferentiated drives, the night of the world, or chaos’ as ideology would have you believe, makes this historico-erotic genius and some next level shit! Download the pdf, it’s better reading in color: Svankmajer, Jan 1978; Perversion for the Five Senses

Perversion for the Five Senses
Jan Svankmajer 1978

It would seem that in the course of analysing chromatic hearing, we arrive at a fundamental universal law covering other phenomena and types of human thought. Psychological experiments have shown that even such sensations as smell, taste, touch, plus bodily comfort and pain, can be translated into optical images; that one can connect colours with numbers, days of the week, vowels (Rimbaud) and other systems. In fact, it has been demonstrated that dream-like visual images can be created by auditory or tactile sensations which also indicate a certain connection, a certain functional supplement and a sensory equivalence. –Karel Teige, “Poetry for the Five Senses, or the Second Poetic Manifesto”, 1928.

1. Homosexuality
Colour: Pale ochre
Tactile Analogy: Chopping up an onion, taking a piece in each hand and passing, with rotating movements, over the naked chest, while at the same time placing a large piece of emery paper between bare feet and gently moving the toes of both feet
Smell: Hot asphalt
Taste: Recently clarified butter
Sound: Strongly intensified sound of combing

2. Lesbianism
Colour: White
Tactile Analogy: Wrapping up naked in a warm plastic bag and rolling over a grassy meadow
Smell: Dry camomile
Taste: Salt
Sound: Pressurised steam escaping

3. Sadomasochism
Colour: Black-orange
Tactile Analogy: Gently slashing the tips of the fingers on both hands and caressing the body with lightly bleeding fingers
Smell: A wet dog
Taste: Boiling jasmine tea
Sound: Bird-seed trampled underfoot

4. Paedophilia
Colour: Azure blue
Tactile Analogy: Holding a freshly-plucked chicken under each arm while kneeling on overripe apples
Smell: A door freshly coated with enamelled varnish
Taste: Flour
Sound: Amplified sound of corals being spilled

5. Voyeurism
Colour: Black-grey
Tactile Analogy: Soaking the hands in chilled glue and slowly pulling them out a moment later
Smell: Musty old paper
Taste: Alcohol
Sound: Absolute silence

6. Fetishism
Colour: Pink
Tactile Analogy: Sitting naked, in an overheated room, on an eiderdown, covering a rolling pin with fur and rolling it firstly all along the back (the buttocks as high as possible), then from the top of the head over the chest and the stomach and down to the toes
Smell: Freshly clipped feathers
Taste: What the tongue feels after pressing it against the metal of a streetlamp in winter (at a temperature of fifteen degrees below zero)
Sound: Tearing cloth

7. Zoophilia
Colour: Myrtle-green
Tactile Analogy: Gently tickling the inside of the ears with wild duck feathers
Smell: A man’s worn-out hat
Taste: His own blood
Sound: The bells of the church of Loretta in Prague

8. Gerontophilia
Colour: Pale ochre
Tactile Analogy:
Sitting naked, legs apart, on the branch of an old pear tree (the branch being at least 25cm in diameter) and driving fingernails into palms in a regular rhythm (for about five minutes)
Smell: Crushed cardamom
Taste: Boiled oat flakes
Sound: A stick dragged along a picket fence

9. Necrophilia
Colour: Purple
Tactile Analogy: Lying bareback on scattered peas, the shins weighed down with a block of ice; placing hands, previously warmed in a muff of artificial fur, on the forehead
Smell: A sweat-soaked pillow
Taste: Saccharine
Sound: A door being kicked


Also peruse his artworks especially the tactile works and poems via the Wayback Machine at Jan Svankmajer Alchemist of the Surreal.


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