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The Tate Asks, “Can Taste, Touch, Smell, and Sound Change the Way We ‘See’ Art?

Richard Hamilton, 'Interior II' 1964

Richard Hamilton, Interior II 1964. Oil, cellulose paint and collage on board
support: 1219 x 1626 mm frame: 1425 x 1830 x 100 mm Purchased 1967
© The estate of Richard Hamilton View the Museum’s main page for this artwork,
August 19, 2015, by Jack Dziamba. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday.

This blog covers the use of Technology and the New Media by Art Museums, Galleries, and Book Publishers,  and reviews new approaches in the worlds of Art and Literature. As to this exhibition of Art through the “senses” The Tate believes that:

“Galleries are overwhelmingly visual. But people are not – the brain understands the world by combining what it receives from all five senses. Can taste, touch, smell and sound change the way we ‘see’ art?”

The Tate Sensorium

As described by the Tate website:

” Tate Sensorium is an immersive display featuring four paintings from the Tate collection. You can experience sounds, smells, tastes and physical forms inspired by the artworks, and record and review your physiological responses through sophisticated measurement devices.

The experience encourages a new approach to interpreting artworks, using technology to stimulate the senses, triggering both memory and imagination. On leaving, you will be invited to explore the rest of the gallery using the theme of the senses as a guide.

Nicholas Forrest in BlouinArtInfo writes,

“Featuring works by Francis Bacon, David Bomberg, Richard Hamilton, and John Latham, the display uses the senses to trigger both memory and imagination, establishing a new approach to the interpretation of these paintings. Binaural and directional audio will be used to produce 3D sounds, touchless haptics technology will create the impression of tactile sensations, a perfume release system will emit bespoke “living naturals” scents, and an edible product will stimulate a haptic taste experience.”

Technology and the Senses: How Does It Work?

As described by the Tate,


Touchless haptics work by using focused ultrasound from an array of speakers that vibrate on the visitor’s hand. This will create a sensation of touch, and no gloves or special equipment is needed. Touchless haptics use technology developed by the company Ultrahaptics.


Directional audio uses ultrasound waves to direct very precise sound waves across distances in a very precise manner. Listeners outside of the audio area will not be able to hear it, while for those inside the channel, the effect is similar to listening to headphones. Directional audio systems will be provided by Hypersound.


Flying Object collaborated with International Flavors and Fragrances working with a selection of perfumers to create bespoke fragrances. The fragrances have been created using IFF exclusive raw materials combined with scents of life captured using IFF R&D Nature Inspired Fragrance Technologies™.


Master chocolatier and food inventor Paul A Young has developed an edible product that stimulates a haptic taste experience in response to the textural, painterly qualities and potential meanings of a specific artwork.


Visitors will be given the option to measure their body’s response to the experience using wearable devices. These wristbands measure electrodermal activity, a measure of perspiration, which indicates how calm or excited wearers are. Tate Sensorium will be using E4 wristbands, provided by Empatica, who offer medical quality sensing.”

Can taste, touch, smell and sound change the way we ‘see’ art?”

Will it work? Here is a video by the creators explaining the purpose of the Tate Sensorium. It will be interesting to see the reviews and visitor experiences of Tate Sensorium. Stay tuned.

About Flying Object
“Winner of the IK Prize 2015, Tate Sensorium is the creation of creative agency Flying Object, working with a team of collaborators: audio specialist Nick Ryan, master chocolatier Paul A Young, scent expert Odette Toilette, interactive theatre maker Annette Mees, lighting designer Cis O’Boyle, digital agency Make Us Proud, and the Sussex Computer Human Interaction Lab team lead by Dr Marianna Obrist at the Department of Informatics, University of Sussex.
The IK Prize is awarded annually for an idea that uses innovative technology to enable the public to discover, explore and enjoy British art from the Tate collection in new ways.”


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August 11, 2015 by Jack Dziamba – New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday
VR and Art in the New Media – See, But Don’t Touch
The video above shows how one can tour the British Museum and the Louvre with Virtual Reality. VR is way that museums use New Media Technology to enhance the visitor experience, and increase the accessibility of their collections. We have written before about how museums are in the forefront of adapting New Media technology to fulfill their mission to make Art accessable to everyone, everywhere:E MUSEUMS LEAVE E BOOKS IN THE DUST: A VIEW FROM TWO DIFFERENT CENTURIES.. Museums are confident that this effort will lead to increased museum attendance and memberships, rather than replace them.
In this post we take a look at the use of VR when actually in the museum itself by focusing on the recent Virtual Reality Weekend at the British Museum.  Can VR, as a New Media tool,  further break down the barriers between the Art and the viewer?  Dusty exhibits, dusty cases, “Do Not Touch” restrictions, the “Velvet Rope” experience, and the Church-like atmosphere are some of the common barriers one encounters in a visit to a museum?
The Google Art Project is a mind-bending use of New Media technology to see famous works of art from museums all over the world. Via Google Art, you can get immensely closer to the art works than you can ever do so in the museum itself. You can have (virtually) nothing between you and your Van Gogh.
Can VR be Tactile?
Still, the tactile experience is lacking. For reasons that are understandable, in a museum,  you can’t touch, let alone pick up, an artwork (for instance, take a painting to view it in a different light, or feel the surface of the Pieta.) This is where we think VR can be enhanced to create an entirely new museum experience. This goes beyond seeing things in 3-D, which however “real,” still seems fake – a trick of digital manipulation.
If VR in museums were to stop at the 3-D effect, and a voice-over, it would be entertaining, but do little to fulfill a museum’s mission to make Art accessible to everyone, everywhere.  For an interesting look at tactile VR, check out this article from the Verge: “We’ve seen virtual reality. It’s time to touch it.”
The British Museum and Virtual Reality
VR at the British Mideum

VR at the British Mideum

In anticipation of the Virtual Reality Weekend at the British Museum Art Daily wrote,

“Through its work with technology partner Samsung, the British Museum is at the forefront of digital learning. The Samsung Digital Discovery Center  was created in 2009 to provideBritish Museum Samsung Digital Arts Center state-of-the-art technological hub for children and young people to learn about and interact with the Museum’s collection. The creation of a virtual reality experience based on the British Museum’s Collection is the latest innovation of this exciting partnership.

The Virtual Reality Weekend on 8 – 9 August will be the first time Samsung Gear VR devices are used to engage families with British Museum collections. Visitors will be able to explore a virtual reality Bronze Age site designed by Soluis Heritage, where they will see 3D scans of objects from the Museum’s collection of this period, placed in their original setting. ”

A Review by Sophie Charara of Wearable gives a description of her visit,

“‘We were able to have a play with the virtual environment created for Samsung’s mobile VR headset- the immersive dome is yet to be installed ahead of this weekend. It’s a quick but extremely accessible VR demo.’

Designed by Soluis Heritage and using 3D scans from the British Museum and UCL MicroPasts project, the app places you in the middle of a settlement of CG prehistoric roundhouses. Using the Gear VR’s touch panel, you swipe forward and backward to move into and around one of the roundhouses, selecting the scanned objects by looking at them and tapping once. The museum’s curator of the European Bronze Age collection, Dr Neil Wilkin, narrates in your ear via headphones (make sure the volume is up if it’s noisy), and you can view the objects from different angles as you tilt and move your head.”

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What Did Shakespeare Sound Like to Shakespeare?


Mention “Shakespeare” and  the rich pronunciations of https://www.youtube.com/embed/lsrOXAY1arg“> Richard Burton or https://www.youtube.com/embed/5ks-NbCHUns“>Sir Laurence Oliver , in Hamlet echo in our minds. But, what did Shakespeare really sound like?

What did Shakespeare’s English Sound Like to Shakespeare?

Here, thanks to Josh Jones  at Open Culture, is an explanation:

“What did Shakespeare’s English sound like to Shakespeare? To his audience? And how can we know such a thing as the phonetic character of the language spoken 400 years ago?

These questions and more are addressed in the video above, which profiles a very popular experiment at London’s Globe Theatre, the 1994 reconstruction of Shakespeare’s theatrical home. As linguist David Crystal explains, the theater’s purpose has always been to recapture as much as possible the original look and feel of a Shakespearean production—costuming, music, movement, etc. But until recently, the Globe felt that attempting a play in the original pronunciation would alienate audiences. The opposite proved to be true, and people clamored for more.

Above, Crystal and his son, actor Ben Crystal, demonstrate to us what certain Shakespearean passages would have sounded like to their first audiences, and in so doing draw out some subtle wordplay that gets lost on modern tongues.”

Wherefore, ‘Twas It Not Even in “Old English”?

“Shakespeare’s English is called by scholars Early Modern English (not, as many students say, “Old English,” an entirely different, and much older language). Crystal dates his Shakespearean early modern to around 1600. (In his excellent textbook on the subject, linguist Charles Barber bookends the period roughly between 1500 and 1700.) David Crystal cites three important kinds of evidence that guide us toward recovering early modern’s original pronunciation (or “OP”).”



More: What the English of Shakespeare, Beowulf, and King Arthur Actually Sounded Like

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The Day Vincent Died – the 125th Anniversary of the Death of Vincent Van Gogh

Exactly 125 years ago today, Vincent van Gogh died in his brother Theo’s arms in Auberge Ravoux. On the 125th anniversary of Vincent’s death, the Van Gogh Museum celebrates the life of the world-famous artist at his final resting place. Willem van Gogh en Machteld van Laer, descendants of Van Gogh’s brother, Theo, laid sunflowers and yellow dahlias on the painter’s grave in Auvers-sur-Oise, the French village where Vincent spent the last three months of his life.

Exactly 125 years ago today, Vincent van Gogh died in his brother Theo’s arms in Auberge Ravoux. On the 125th anniversary of Vincent’s death, the Van Gogh Museum celebrates the life of the world-famous artist at his final resting place. Willem van Gogh en Machteld van Laer, descendants of Van Gogh’s brother, Theo, laid sunflowers and yellow dahlias on the painter’s grave in Auvers-sur-Oise, the French village where Vincent spent the last three months of his life.

July 29, 2015, by Jack Dziamba -New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday

Van Gogh – the Writer

Today is the 125th Anniversary of the Death of Vincent Van Gogh. In honor of Van Gogh’s life, we are re-blogging from one of our first posts.

Everyone (now) knows Van Gogh, the Artist, bu few know Van Gogh the Writer.  However Vincent was an excellent writer. Here and below, for example, read the  letter to his brother, Theo, from Arles dated September 9, 1888. In this letter, Nan Gogh writes a coherent and articulate explanation of why he chose the colors he used in his painting, Night Cafe.

The Van Gogh Letters

The Van Gogh Museum and the Van Gogh Letters sites are two spectacular responses to the use of the new media for the display of fine art. The Letters are astounding. They are capable of being displayed in the original handwriting, by line, and in several languages. Also, viewers can see the original illustrations that were included in the letters, and can click on it to see the history of the times, area, etc.

The Letters are able to to displayed by period, place, date, with sketches. The following features exist for a comprehensive viewing experience:
Original Text. Displays the original text.
Line endings. Displays the original text with the original line endings. The lines are also numbered.
Facsimile. The facsimile view shows images of the letters. Clicking on a facsimile activates a zoom tool with which you can zoom in on the page. For more detailed information about the facsimile itself, click on the ‘physical description’ beneath the facsimile.
Translation. Here you find the English translation of the letter.
Notes. Displays the editorial annotations to the text. Individual notes can also be accessed by clicking the note number in the text or translation. If a note refers to a person, work of art, book or biblical passage, the reference is provided with a hyperlink. Clicking the hyperlink executes a search for that person, etc. In the case of a reference to an illustrated work of art, clicking the small sunflower icon displays the illustration.
Artworks. Displays thumbnails of all illustrated works of art mentioned in the annotations. Clicking the image will show a larger view of the work.
Recall previous letters. The numbers of recently viewed letters are shown next to the present letter number in the Letter title bar. Clicking a number returns you to that letter.

The Van Gogh Museum

The museum site links both the Letters and the Google Art Project so as to make the experience immediate, convenient, and unique. Thus, it uses every advantage of art in the new media to make it more than the museum catalogue online. Indeed it is superior in many ways to a museum visit. It serves as a museum visit to see the original text in quiet contemplation; without crowds, noise, distraction.

Van Gogh’s Night Cafe

The Van Gogh Letters are extraordinary in that they reveal that Vincent was an excellent writer, and allows us to see his own explanations of his paintings and use of color. One is his letter to his brother, Theo, from Arles dated September 9, 1888. In that letter, he gives a very coherent and articulate explanation of what he tried to do in the painting, Night Cafe.

“In my painting of the night cafe, I’ve tried to express the idea that the cafe is a place where you can ruin yourself, go mad, commit crimes. Anyway, I tried with contrasts of delicate pink and blood-red and wine-red. Soft Lous XV and Veronese green contrasting with the yellow greens and hard blue greens. All of that in an ambiance of a hellish furnace, in pale sulphur. To express something of the power of the dark corners of a grog-shop. And yet with the appearance of Japanese gaiety.”

The museum also has its own YouTube clip on the Google Art Project.

And, Vincent even has his own blog.

H/T Mark Dziamba and the Van Gogh Museum.

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VISIT VENICE – Art, History, Romance via the NEW MEDIA

July 22, 2015, by Jack Dziamba – New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 5.05.24 PM

                                      TO BEGIN:  Click Here

Summer – Art, History, and Romance in Venice

Since it’s summer, we seem to be concentrating on stunning visual tours, or on books to read at the beach (and elsewhere).

So, this week it’s Venice via tools of the New Media.  You can explore: Adventure, History, or Romance

simply by scrolling down the site to this page, and selecting what you want to see.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 5.30.05 PM


Famous Art in Venice

“Thanks to the collaboration between the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia and the Google Cultural Institute, the International Gallery of Modern Art – Ca’ Pesaro is now part of Google Art Project: an online platform through which the public around the world can access high-resolution images of works of art in the collections of museums partners in the initiative, with the goal of democratizing access to culture and to promote its preservation for future generations.
For Ca’ Pesaro are uploaded 50 high resolution images of some of the most representative works of the collection and the museum display. These include The Rabbi of Vitebsk by Marc Chagall, the beautiful Judith II (Salomé) by Gustav Klimt, the great paiting of Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida Sewing canvas, The Thinker by Auguste Rodin and the famous Zig Zag by Wassily Kandinsky. To remind some Italians: Felice Casorati with The ladies and the fundamental work of Medardo Rosso, Madame X and Ecce Puer.
Visitors to the Art Project platform can browse the works based on the name of the artist, the title, the type of art, the museum, the country, or the period of time, appreciating these masterpieces in their total beauty allowed to see even the most accurate detail. Among the features available, ‘My Gallery’ allows users to save specific views of selected artworks and build their own personal gallery. Comments can be added to each painting and the whole gallery can be shared with friends on social networks. Also, ‘Compare’ allows people to examine two works of art ‘side by side’ in the same screen to look more closely at how the style of an artist has evolved over time, or connect his artistic trends, or look deep into two details of a same work.”  (Source: Ca’ Pesaro Venice.)
Famous Sites in Venice
venice bridge

You can also take a 360 tour of some of Venice’s favorite sites such as the Doges Palace, The Bridge of Sighs (above), St. Mark’s Square, and others right here.

And, ET Goes to Venice

H/Ts: Open Culture,  and the Google Art Project




July 16, 2015. New Post Goes Up Every Wednesday. By Jack Dziamba
"Pushkin's Farewell to the Sea" by Ivan Aivazovsky and Ilya Repin (1877)

“Pushkin’s Farewell to the Sea” by Ivan Aivazovsky and Ilya Repin (1877)

While you may not choose Alexander Pushkin for reading at the beach this summer, the flowing will change your mind. With our attention spans getting shorter and shorter, tools of the New Media bring animation to poetry, so that in 15 minutes, ( 5 for reading the text of this post, and 10 for the film), you will learn and appreciate more about Pushkin, than you know now, or perhaps learn in a semester.

Pushkin at the Beach

“Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin (/ˈpʊʃkɪn/;[1]Russian: Алекса́ндр Серге́евич Пу́шкин, tr.Aleksandr Sergeyevich Pushkin; IPA: [ɐlʲɪˈksandr sʲɪˈrɡʲejɪvʲɪtɕ ˈpuʂkʲɪn]; 6 June [O.S. 26 May] 1799 – 10 February [O.S. 29 January] 1837) was a Russian author of the Romantic era[2] who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet and the founder of modern Russian literature.

Pushkin was born into Russian nobility in Moscow. His matrilineal great grandfather was Abram Gannibal, who was brought over as a slave from what is now Cameroon. Pushkin published his first poem at the age of fifteen, and was widely recognized by the literary establishment by the time of his graduation from the Tsarskoye Selo Lyceum.

While under the strict surveillance of the Tsar’s political police and unable to publish, Pushkin wrote his most famous play, the drama Boris Godunov. His novel in verse, Eugene Onegin, was serialized between 1825 and 1832.

Notoriously touchy about his honour, Pushkin fought as many as twenty-nine duels, and was fatally wounded in such an encounter with Georges-Charles de Heeckeren d’Anthès. Pushkin had accused D’Anthès, a French officer serving with the Chevalier Guard Regiment of attempting to seduce the poet’s wife, Natalya Pushkina. (Source: Wikipedia)

Pushkin’s Poem “The Mermaid” Brought to Life in a Masterfully Hand-Painted Animation

Josh Jones  of  Open Culture, recommends watching the ten-minute film first. He writes, “Though presented in Russian without subtitles, you will—even if you don’t speak Russian—find yourself seduced.”

He writes,

“Pushkin’s work remains viscerally compelling, even in translation: into other languages, other genres, and other media, as in the animated film above of a short poem of Pushkin’s called Rusalka, or “‘The Mermaid.”‘

Pushkin, Poetry, and the New Media

New Media tools and technology can be used to give “reading,” and “reading poetry,” a new meaning, one which meets the time and attention “demands” of the 21st century.

As Jones writes about Pushkin’s  poem, “The Mermaid,”

“Animated in a masterful hand-painted style by Russian artist and filmmaker, Alexander Petrov, [with subtle and haunting music] the film tells the story of a monk who falls in love with a beautiful and dangerous mythical water spirit. You can read a paraphrase, translation, and interpretation of the poem here.”


Jones tell us that,

“Petrov, who painstakingly paints his images on glass with oils, has also adapted the work of other dramatic writers, including another fellow Russian artist, Dostoevsky. His take on Hemingway’sThe Old Man and the Sea won an Academy Award in 2000, and most deservedly so. Petrov does not adapt literary works so much as he translates them into light, shadow, and sound, immersing us in their textures and images. His Rusalka, just like the poem on which it’s based, speaks directly to our imaginations.” (Source: Open Culture).

Total time: 15 Minutes – Easily done at the beach.


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July 8, 2015 NewPost Goes UP Every Wednesday

Ah, summer. What’s better than packing the kids in the old van and heading out to the Grand Canyon ?

Re-blogged from Open Culture


“With Google’s Street View we can amble through New York City’s High Line Park, around the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad, and down the cobbled streets of Ouro Preto, Brazil. Now we can also take a virtual hike along the rim of the Grand Canyon, following Google’s cameras along the historic Bright Angel trail from its start at the south rim all the way down the Black Bridge over the Colorado River and on to the Phantom Ranch camping area.”

It’s a perfect way to check out the terrain before taking off for an Arizona vacation.”


“Unlike views in Google’s earlier Street View maps, the Grand Canyon photos are taken along rocky, narrow trails where no car, snow mobile, or motorbike could ever go. So how did Google collect all of the necessary images?”





You have got to see this 360 panoramic of the Canyon.

“The Grand Canyon project is the first to utilize Trekker, a backpack-mounted camera apparatus worn by a hiker that takes a picture every 2.5 seconds. Trekker weighs 40 pounds and is operated by an Android phone held by the hiker. It has 15 cameras pointed in different angles that can be combined to create panoramic views.”

“Follow the South Kaibab Trail to Skeleton Point for majestic 360-degree views of the misty blue Canyon. It took three days to capture the main trails of the Canyon’s south rim. Two teams hiked down the Bright Angel Trail, camped at Phantom Ranch and hiked out the next day along the South Kaibab Trail. Another team stayed at the top, collecting images from the rim and from Meteor Crater outside the park.”



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