The story behind Synaesthete Media
I wasn’t sure how to explain my creative niche to people until I read a book called Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown at the beginning of 2020.
In one chapter, she refers to a term coined in 1912 by the French sociologist Émile Durkheim in his book, “The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life.”
The term is collective effervescence, and describes “experiences of connection, communal emotion, and a ‘sensation of sacredness’ that happens when we are a part of something bigger than us…it is an opportunity to feel joy, social connection, meaning, and peace.”
This psychological phenomenon is my through-line betwixt all the curiosities, concepts, and passions I hold close to my heart.
It's what lies beneath the brochure-perfect palm trees and white sand beaches in context of travel, and gives rise to intricate customs and rituals that distinguish cultures and epitomise generations of history.
It's what underpins my feelings of unbounded acceptance, belonging, unity, and equanimity at music festivals; my curiosity for foods that taste like an archive of ancestral guidance and hours of undistracted creation time.
It's the substance of my aspiration for communicating issues around environmental stewardship and social empowerment — and more recently, looking beyond the veil of our rational default reality and into the realm of the divine.
This discovery also fit nicely alongside my business name, which I’d only coined within weeks of making the connection...
Syn- (prefix): things that are like one another.
Aesthete (noun): someone with deep sensitivity to the beauty of art or nature.
Put those definitions together, and you describe a collective of people with intense appreciation and curiosity for the world around them.
They're the kind of people that light my soul on fire. These are the realms where I feel most at peace and inspired, and have decided to spend most of my life inhabiting and endeavouring to capture.
I no longer feel pressured to specialise in just travel or music or weddings or performance, for they’re inextricably linked — as we are to each other — beneath this protective canopy of collective effervescence.
All manner of things can happen beneath this canopy.
For me, they've been the various music festivals I've had the pleasure of attending as media crew since mid-2018. Before that, they were serendipitous encounters from several years on the road and 30 countries.
The past decade of wandering and experiencing and saying fuck-yes has filled my tank with humility, perspective, and the courage to get closer to my subjects — to fully unfold in the presence of other aesthetes, and share what traits and treasures we can before time elapses. (It’s also made me a far better photographer, videographer, writer, and observer.)
My anticipated adventure of the next ten years is already looking like one heck of a bushwhack into the wilderness — a vast scope of art and nature in which Synaesthete Media discovers herself in the context of universal consciousness.
I'll do this in one of the only ways I know how; by exploring this theme of collective effervescence; by peering more curiously and intently into the unbridled joy and expressive freedom of music festivals, vibrance of foreign cultures, and inexplicable tug of the esoteric.
This personal legend (if you want to call it that — an Alchemist reference) first whispered in my ear when I was dodging fireworks and watching Taoist devotees pierce their faces during the Phuket Vegetarian Festival. It nudged me with its elbow as I gawped over shibari performances and cacao ceremonies during Elements Festival in 2019.
It patiently asked whether I’d noticed the thread running through my greatest passions — travel, music, art, nature, food — those things in life steeped in history and carried out with care and fondness for detail.
Now I can call it by name, I feel compelled to run at it full-pelt, link arms with its believers, and, as community leader Jen Hatmaker called it in Braving the Wilderness, have a “wilderness dance party” beneath the canopy…and of course, document the process (whenever I’m not totally lost in the experience of being alive).
I hope you’ll follow me in.