At The Perfume Society we love surprises, so when we heard about a mysterious multi-sensory exhibition, taking place at Tate Britain, we had to sniff (and feel) it out on your behalf. IK Prize 2015: Tate Sensorium is the latest in creative experiences from studio Flying object and co. Taking four current works from the Tate collection, they have tried to build a narrative using taste, touch and – our favorite – scent!
First we were given a bracelet, not unlike those smart watches we see everywhere these days, and were told they would read our “emotional reactions” to the different experiences. The exhibition begins subtly with a painting called Interior II, by Richard Hamilton showing a woman in the living room of her home, while speakers broadcast noises of heels on wood flooring and aerosol sprays.
When we slipped on our headphones for Full stop by Richard Latham a calming voice asked us to pop our hand in to the box opposite the painting… apprehensively we did so and the sounds of rain and wind were accompanied by an ultrasound sequence that imitates the sensation of touch.
Moving next to In the Hold by David Bomberg, there are scent shakers that sent thick dusty, charcoal smells right up our delicate little noses. The sounds evoke those of a busy mine with the clattering of metal tools and rickety trailer rails. This was our favourite! The picture reminds us of the colours refracted from a diamond.
Biting down eagerly on what we assumed was normal chocolate (we wont spoil the surprise for you!) we should have known all was not quite what it seemed…. Francis Bacon’s Figure In a landscape depicts the wartime era with scents of the outdoors circling the room, wet grass and earthy soil, to give you a clue.
At the end of the experience we were given a chart showing reactions the bracelets measured throughout the experience – you can see a giant spike on said graph where our chocolate-y dreams were dashed. We were especially delighted to bump into VIP Perfume Society Subscriber Veronica Hendry, and her daughter Daisy, who said “the experience was heightened by the sights and sounds when viewing In The Hold. I felt like I could have been on a ship in the West Indies with those sounds!”
26 August 2015 – 20 September 2015
Free entry, but please see details for ticket allocation on their website.
By Penny Sheard