The Taste of Sound

Research on the symbiosis of sound and taste

As long as anyone can remember, artists and researchers alike have been contemplating the combination of the senses. Often these people were syntesthetes themselves. The late Alexander Nikolajewitsch Skrjabin, a Russian composer and color-syntesthete, for example, worked on a multimedia enigma that was meant to combine poetry, sound, color, smell, touch, dance and moving architecture. In our research we primarily focus on the interrelation between food and sound. The range of possible subjects includes: 

  • Sound as ingredient: How sound complements a dish; sound as amplification of, or contrast to, food texture
  • Sounds change the appearance of the dish (e.g. soup surface with patterns generated by sound, dancing pudding, etc.)
  • Sonifying dishes: translating dishes parameters in real-time
  • Sound from / inside food: self-sounding food (e.g. sizzling steak, crackling soda)
  • Music as accompaniment to a meal, or when serving the meal
  • Sound as a social element: silent eating, manipulated communication, story telling
  • Table environment as an interactive installation or eating inside virtual reality (VR with 3D Sound)
  • (Music) theory approaches: proportions of ingredients (e.g. Pythagoras), unison or counterpoint, cooked chords, orchestration of a dish, rhythm of consumption
  • Case Study 1: Symphony of Elements
    For the new Autumn Menu 2017 ‚Nature Speaks‘, Ramon De Marco composed an acoustical overture in form of a sound installation which welcomes the guests at the beginning of their culinary journey. The acoustical menu is being served on nine portable speakers which, like an orchestra made of natural sounds, immerse the room in a sonic landscape. 
    Client: Gasthof Rössli, Link to Project
  • Case Study 2: Electro-acoustic Degustation
    As part of the Sounds Unlimited Events we search for answers in a relatively young scientific field: What do you drink to a piece like «Gesang der Jünglinge» by Karlheinz Stockhausen? A dry red or a dessert wine? Which piece fits with a rounded Barolo? Do the tannins go well with the granulated sounds we are hearing? What is the connection between Musique Concrète and a Ripasso? An evening rich in tannins, served with 8-channel-gems. 
    Idee und Klang Audio Design Event: Link to Project
  • Case Study 3: A Sound Installation in a Rest Room
    'DIGESTIVAL - give me a second to stomach this...' is a sound installation in a metabolic setting: in a loo. It intervenes in the cycle of the holistic food utilisation chain, and creates stimulatory vibrations for a holistic metabolism.
    Client: Internationale Szenografie Biennale, Link to Project