… Where’s the sense in multisensory art?

Tate-SensoriumIt used to /* 9-970x90 */ be

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known as ‘synaesthesia’; now ‘crossmodal perception’ is the scientific term for the ability of one sense to

stimulate another. Experiments by Oxford
University psychologists
and researchers in New York have found links between reactions to sound and smell in the part of the brain known as the ‘olfactory tubercle’. It may sound like google_ad_height = 90; a plug of mucus in a brass instrument, but apparently it’s highly sensitive. When one researcher banged his coffee mug down next to
the laboratory mice whose olfactory reflexes he was testing, their smell cells jumped.

Artists, always looking for new angles, have played

with crossmodal possibilities for years. But while modern artists like Kandinsky and Klee focused on art’s
relationship with music, postmodern artists have developed a less salubrious

black and white room with the scent of Panda Sex. I can’t give a nosewitness account, but according to a report in the Evening Standard it smelt of baby wipes and posh candles. If that’s what turns pandas on, it’s /* xin-1 */ no wonder they have difficulty breeding.



public galleries struggling with the problem of ADHD-afflicted visitors who’ve lost the ability to focus on one thing at a google_ad_client = "ca-pub-3967079123942817"; time are
hoping crossmodality could be the answer. Last summer at Tate Britain the special exhibition Tate Sensorium offered visitors a multisensory tour of four paintings from the collection – Richard Hamilton’s Interior II, John Latham’s Full Stop, David Bomberg’s In the Hold and Francis Bacon’s Figure in a Landscape – with added bells and smells. The experience of Hamilton’s Interior, for example, was aurally enhanced by the sound of clacking heels on 1960s parquet


Not all the soundtracks were as google_ad_width = 970; evocative as Watson’s. The melancholy sawing of Susan Philipsz’s Air on a Broken String, played as an accompaniment to Holbein’s The Ambassadors on a violin with a string missing, was as maunderingly self-indulgent as her 2010 google_ad_slot = "7160667483"; Turner Prize entry and – apart from the knowing reference to Holbein’s broken lute string – had no connection with the picture. The other sound artists Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller chose a more appropriate accompaniment to Antonella da Messina’s St Jerome in his Study

light and leaves of a sylvan glade, while
his repeating doo-whump figure