Hearing colours, discovering how the London Underground tastes and seeing the world through the eyes of a dragonfly are just some of the extraordinary experiences on offer at the National Science and Media Museum this summer.
Supersenses is free entry and on all summer long from 15 July to 8 October. The family exhibition will offer an immersive experience with unusual sights, sounds, tastes and smells. Visitors can explore the many different ways the world can be perceived.
The exhibition features work by acclaimed sound recordist Chris Watson (Springwatch, Frozen Planet) plus installations by different artists and the creative studio Marshmallow Laser Feast. Rarely seen inventions will also demonstrate some of the weird and wonderful ways people have tried to enhance their senses.
The Sensory Soundpit is a pioneering instrument that enables audiences to experiment with sound through touch, visuals and movement. The interactive installation is both digital and physical – as visitors touch and move the sand in three different Soundpits, they create their own visual and sound mixes. It is inspired by Synesthesia, a phenomenon experienced by one in 2000 people where one sense stimulates another sense at the same time, e.g. ‘hearing colour’.
One example of this fascinating condition displayed at the exhibition is a map of the London Underground by James Wannerton. The map charts what each station on the network tastes like for him. For example James, who has been diagnosed with lexical-gustatory synaesthesia, tastes rich fruit cake when he sees the name King’s Cross.
Other installations include a wall of thermochromic ink which reacts to body heat, constantly changing the colours and shapes on the wall when touched. There will also be an immersive virtual reality simulation of the world through the eyes of different animals using 3D scanning technology and 360° cameras.
Visitors will see and hear things they have never observed before as the challenges of sensing the microscopic, the physically inaccessible and even the Big Bang, are explored.
The fun doesn’t stop there. The Museum staff will be in the gallery performing sense tests – finding which visitors are ‘super sensers’ and investigating if sound affects the taste of chocolate. For those younger visitors under 7 there’s a trail featuring interactive activities and surprising facts about animals’ senses, such as the catfish which has taste buds on the outside of its body, like a giant tongue!
An adults-only Lates night on Friday 14 July will open the exhibition, offering the opportunity to discover the exhibition before anyone else. The opening of Supersenses also kicks off the launch of the Bradford Science Festival.
For more information, please see the National Science and Media Museum website, scienceandmediamuseum.org.uk/whats-on/supersenses