I like the way this discussion is turning to the importance of the very many
kinds of sensory pathways that contribute to creating percepts.
In 2000 with the MIM group in Marseille we organised a syneasthesia
there was a very interesting talk by Jean Pierre Ternaux
his paper is available at:
is a neurologist and he very much emphasised that the brain uses a number
of internal sense of its own functioning ( pain, muscle position and tension
he talks of "extero ception" for the senses with the world outside the body
and "intero-ception" for the senses that sense the internal body:
"Interoception is induced by stimuli generated by motor
activity in skeletal muscles, tendinous and articular proprioceptors
or visceral activities, which give the brain messages
about internal environmental properties. Both exteroceptive
and interoceptive sensory modalities require the activity of
specific receptors able to receive adequate stimulation. At the
receptor level, physical and chemical stimulations are transformed
into electrical messages conveyed to the central nervous
system via afferent sensory nerves."
I would be interested in examples of artworks that focus on
the interoceptive senses !! rather than the exteroceptive ones.
For instance Stelarc's sculpture constructed inside his stomach
( although the visualisation was as important as the interoception)
( hmm still thinking about the drunken camel in your poem)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Raewyn Turner <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, Mar 16, 2010 at 8:21 PM
Subject: Re: [Yasmin_discussions] (Yasmin_discussions) Multisensory
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 meaning
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 activity?
Roger wrote "…..a ride in
coaster where you experience variable gravity is so disorienting/thrilling
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
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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