Dan Schwarzlose (b. 1973) is a multi-media artist, musician and educator. Dan's artistic interests include edible books, synesthesia, and multi-sensorial installations and performance. A classically- trained trumpet player, he also explores relationships between sight and sound with Wiretap Wednesday, his rock band that improvises to short films and original videos. Whether creating as an installation artist or a musician, Dan engages multiple senses to heighten experiences and perceptions. To Dan, multi-sensorial art is uniquely rich and visceral, and perfectly matched to his interdisciplinary approach.
Dan frequently collaborates with world-renowned chef Homaro Cantu of Moto Restaurant. Most recently, they orchestrated and hosted a Synesthetic Dinner Party for 50 artists at Moto, pairing eight of Cantu's color-themed dishes (green, yellow, red, black, purple, blue, orange, and white) with Wiretap Wednesday's musical interpretations of those colors. As Moto's Media Artist, Dan films, edits and produces videos of Moto's futuristic cuisine that are screened around the world. Dan also makes edible books with chef Cantu and Moto's pastry chef, Ben Roche. Their first creation, Salvador Dalí's Diary of a Genius, quotes food references from Dalí's diary and flavors pages like champagne, cheese, lobster, jasmine rice, and coffee, among others. Dan looks forward to using edible books as an educational vehicle for children who "don't like to read." He believes that these children will enjoy books if they get to write them, illustrate them, choose flavors for each page, and eat them.
Dan is deeply committed to helping fellow artists present their work. Since 1998, he has co-directed the Elastic Arts Foundation (EAF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts organization dedicated to providing rehearsal, recording and performance opportunities to artists of all disciplines and media. Dan's many roles at EAF include: artistic director, producer, performer, treasurer, archivist, and development director. Together with a handful of talented and dedicated friends, he has helped present over 500 free artistic performances and exhibitions in Chicago.
Dan holds a BA in English from Northwestern University and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts & Media from Columbia College. A native of Evanston, Illinois, Dan is the son of a children's librarian and a journalism ethics professor. His favorite artists are Dalí, Antoni Gaudí, Björk and László Moholy-Nagy.
Serving Synesthesia stimulates each of the five senses and explores synesthesia, the neurological phenomenon in which people experience a blurring of the senses: some people see colors when they hear music; some people smell sounds or taste shapes, etc. This highly participatory and individualized installation actively encourages each guest to blend smells, sights, sounds, tastes and textures in any combination they wish. Guests sit at a sleek bar to order a multi-sensorial experience; with dozens of stimuli for the senses, thousands of custom-ordered combinations can be satisfied. Serving Synesthesia encourages guests to question the neat departmentalization of sensorial experiences and to explore the extent to which we experience a complex, interdisciplinary, and interdependent world.
Although Serving Synesthesia stimulates each sense, taste is the artistic highlight of this installation. Using edible cornstarch paper, edible inks, and dozens of flavored food powders, I create edible papers for participants to examine and eat. These edible paper creations are decorated on one side with text and/or images and seasoned on the other side with flavored powders that capture the taste of anything from an apple to a steak, a cup of coffee to an after-dinner mint. The papers' unlimited shelf life allows me to prepare hundreds of samples in advance and efficiently serve dozens of guests in a single evening. My presence as the "synesthetic bartender" allows me to serve and directly communicate with my guests in an open dialogue rather than a one-sided, didactic statement.
Serving Synesthesia seeks to engage all of the guests' senses and stimulate a unique reaction in each person who experiences the installation. Unfortunately, very little art engages most of or all of the senses, since most art focuses on sight and/or sound. Because Serving Synesthesia creates a space in which each participant can have a spontaneous, individualized reaction, it will not confuse or alienate its participants. Thus, I hope that it will attract and engage people who might otherwise not be drawn to installation art or who feel intimidated by the esoteric nature of many other interdisciplinary art projects.
Serving Synesthesia's versatility allows it to flourish in a myriad of settings: museums and galleries; classrooms; restaurants; private events both indoors and outdoors, and more.