Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Re: [Yasmin_discussions] (Yasmin_discussions) Multisensory Perception

Hi Yasminers

Many areas have been discussed, and many fascinating works, research
and ideas brought into focus.
Speaking of wine, my summary has once again been delayed due to
creating a 2nd performance work, centred on tasting of wine. I'm
being trained by the Sensory and Consumer Science lab at Plant and
Food Research on perceiving aspects of smell and flavour, and the
processes involved in creating material for flavour and fragrance ,
and this greatly changes my approach to forming the work. Its called
'Tasting the Digital' in collaboration with Mary Griffiths,
Adelaide University.
The audience in this participatory performance are invited to smell
and taste the digital through the ritual of wine tasting. If the
internet experience was a wine tasting how would its various aspects
taste/smell ?
And if we could drink the internet and reflect on it as it passes into
the digestive system…taste the internet, roll it around the palate
and consider it with attention…
--as Rumi wrote:
"Every object, every being, is a jar full of delight. Be

A connoisseur and taste

With caution. Any wine will get you high. Judge like a

King. Choose the purest,

The ones unadulterated with fear or some urgency about

What ís needed. Drink

the wine that moves you as a camel moves when its been

untied, and is just ambling"

Ian wrote : "Much of the discussion has been around multisensory
perception. This is interesting from our perspective since the
connectivity that we have been talking about doesnt occur at the front
end of sensory perception, but at the processing end in the brain. The
same occurs in all organisms, whether they are neuronal or not - plant
hormones interact - but only downstream once genes have been turned on
- the connectivity is more at the level of genes from one pathway
promoting activity in another. Its probably the same with our senses."
Sergio wrote: "…if each sense makes sense of the world in it's
proper way, this just can be
done on the gorud of the whole sensorium, so that a sense just make
over the background of the whole body."
I've been working with Richard for a mere few months and my knowledge
of lab work is very limited so I'm making an assumption that stimuli
is being tested in the labs on only one sense to investigate the
processes through which signals pass. The organism doesn't have a
body with a whole sensorium, but it passes signals and responds to
signals; If you present an organism with two or three stimulus at the
same time I wonder if it would make a difference in the pathways

Roger wrote "…..a ride in
a roller
coaster where you experience variable gravity is so disorienting/
the variable gravity destabilises the other sensory processes."
In an experiment to discover which sense was the most affected I
rode the roller coaster and the 'Motion Master' (where the chairs
are hydraulically controlled and move in time to the on-screen action)
several times. I discovered that when motion was introduced it was
almost impossible to disengage from the experience… the variable
gravity comes into play.

Ian :…."There is also another level of complexity. You talk about
multisenses as though they are equal, but they are not. Aroma
perception has another component which is psychological - that of
association - we all associate smells with exeriences - often way
back into childhood. This is less strong with the other senses. Does
it make smell more powerful? Is the synaesthetic mix of colour and
sound based on experience or purely genetic? So I have a problem with
multisensing - there must be hierarchies and orders of power which
differ for each of us. It creates a compelling richness in our
response, but consolidates for me the question that came up early in
the discussion - we all differ so greatly in response, so how can we
communicate that properly"………….

After I'd made a presentation of 'Resense' a Jamaican woman spoke
about the dissonance she feels with the colours of NZ, that they seem
so wrong to her and how she feels 'right' when she sees colour
similar to the colour that she was accustomed to in the landscape and
culture of her original country---so I realised that abstracted
colour, too, has memory, and so when we use colour it will have
meaning unique to the receiver.( Resense is a collaboration with Diana
Burgoyne, Canada, and also with commercial perfumer, Louise Crouch
who uses colour-smell association.)
Our individual experiences share characteristics defined by our
bodies, memories etc but don't seem to be parts of a cohesive total
experience for humans...as Ian has said, and Richard pointed out that
not everyone's experience of a certain taste, say of chocolate, is the
same. Our thinking is also tied up with our history--as Ree writes—
the history that leads up to us, the history that we contribute to,
the history that we are, everyday thoughtful reflection with all the
local flavours, fragrances, colours, sounds, temperatures, and
movement of ordinary experience

Both Hilda and Gordana mention the possibility of artists using
scientific knowledge to create unique experiences. Chandler Burr, in
The Perfect Scent also mentioned the quest for the new olfactory
experience, to create a fragrance molecule that no-one has ever
experienced before , by manipulating nature. Many new sensory
experiences from synthetic flavours and fragrances are being created
from novel materials.
What are the consequences of being able to smell more when the
declining sense of human olfaction will not permit full awareness of
these new smells?

all the best

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