Ever wanted to touch the paintings in museums? Glide your finger over the centuries-old paint to really dive into the artist’s world? Alas, you still can’t. But now you can get a little closer to stimulating all of your senses while taking in a specific painting’s unique world.
Starting August 26, you’ll be able to hear, smell, taste, and make-believe-touch four twentieth-century paintings from Tate Britain’s collection. The exhibit, called Tate Sensorium, is an immersive experience produced by the innovators at Flying Object, a creative agency based in London and this year’s IK Prize winner. The works include David Bomberg’s In the Hold (1913–14); Francis Bacon’s Figure in a Landscape (1945); John Latham’s Full Stop (1961); and Richard Hamilton’s Interior II (1964). By using a wide variety of innovative technologies, you can touch, hear, smell, taste, and respond to these four paintings.
To touch John Latham’s Full Stop, simply wave your hand in the air in front of the painting. Thanks to a technology called touchless haptics, which uses ultrasound from a collection of speakers that then vibrate on your hand, you will immediately experience the sensation of touch. In Interior II, you’ll smell the perfume of the actress Patricia Knight, who is featured in the painting. These bespoke scents were created in collaboration with IFF’s olfactory lab and are captured through liquefied gas extraction. David Bomberg’s In the Hold is inspired by the construction of a ship’s hull in a pre–World War I dockyard. As a visitor on this dockyard, you will be able to experience its sounds and smells, from the paint fumes coming off the ship to the sweat of the workers.
Finally, for Francis Bacon’s Figure in a Landscape, Flying Object worked with chocolatier Paul A. Youngto develop edible chocolate that stimulates a haptic taste experience in response to the textural details of the painting. If you choose, you can even have your physiological reactions to each painting recorded.
Tate Sensorium runs from August 26th to September 20th at Tate Britain.