Research

Context
The classic Western division and hierarchy of the senses is giving way to a burgeoning interest within the social sciences, technology and the arts in the interaction and integration of the senses. We reflect and explore the growing recognition that the body is implicated in everything we do. Our collective draws from, and seeks to contribute to, the many disciplines exploring the nature of the body and the synergy of the senses. We investigate the encounter with art as it engages the whole body and the whole sensorium. We explore how the body and mind work together in perception and cognition.

Intentions
Our practice- and theory-based exploration of the senses and perception is grounded in these intentions:

  • To create engaging, multisensory art installations for the public through collaborative work, focusing on the sensory interactions between visitors and a space.
  • To explore, articulate and promote deeper understanding of the ways people respond somatically and emotionally to art in specific environments. Through our installations, our network of resources, lectures in universities, and our research and publications, we encourage critics, writers, educators and students to consider the experience of art not only as visual but also as somatic and embodied.
  • To forge a strong interdisciplinary approach to sensory analysis; to research and evaluate people’s responses to art through rigorous methods; to publish those findings; and to integrate them into our ongoing installations. We use the interview method developed by French philosopher Claire Petitmengin to access inner experience, and the telemetric monitoring of physiological responses used by American behavioral scientist Matthew Goodwin. These first- and third-person approaches to viewers’ responses are combined to generate a multidimensional picture of aesthetic, sensory experiences.
  • To maintain and develop a network of associates in a range of disciplines who share our commitment to somatic, multisensory exploration. In addition to our installations and programmes, we use professional networks, teaching positions, publications, the collective website and related websites, conferences and social media to extend our reach, influence and resources.
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