What Does Great Art Taste Like? You'll Soon Know

Art is a matter of taste, but an upcoming exhibition at London’s Tate Britain, Tate Sensorium, will take that idea to a new level.
Tate

Art is a matter of taste, of course, but a new exhibition set to open in late summer at the Tate Britain, in London, will take that idea to a whole new level.

Visitors to the exhibition, Tate Sensorium, winner of the Tate’s annual IK Prize, will be given sensory stimulators — sounds via headphones, bottles of scent — to experience the artwork on display with all of their senses: not only sight, but smell, touch, hearing and, yes, taste as well.

So if you’re looking at a volcano in a painting by John Martin, you might smell sulphur and hear an eruption, or if you’re looking at William Hogarth’s " The Roast Beef of Old England", you might be given something to evoke a meaty taste.

“We want to really kind of use this palette of the senses as a way of encouraging people to think about the art in a whole new way,” the creative team behind the concept, Flying Object, said in a video explanation.

The installation will also record some visitors’ neurological or physiological responses, tracking their brain waves or changes in their skin to gauge the effects of the immersive experience, according to Flying Concept founders Tom Pursey, Tim Partridge and Peter Law.

Flying Object has enlisted the help of experts in experimental psychology, sound recording, and visual, theatrical and multisensory interactive design, as well as of scent expert Odette Toilette, who calls herself a ‘ purveyor of olfactory adventures,’” Quartz reports. But they’re still looking for someone to help them with taste.

“It’s all slightly experimental,” Pursey told Quartz, “but … if we can complement your visual experience with these other four senses in a meaningful way, then maybe we can change how you feel about the art.”

Photo courtesy of @Tate

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