In the case of their “world’s first” Flavour Organ, on the surface it has all the trappings of excess – a church organ, which can change the way whisky tastes.
Furthermore the idea for such a machine is first described in the 19th century decadent novel A Rebours, in which a flavour organ allows people to taste its music.
Bompas and Parr’s installation isn’t just an ambiguous claim to producing flavour synesthesia though; rather it uses projection mapping to change the form of the organ, which coupled with the sound of the instrument can influence the perception of taste.
Seeing is believing though, and we haven’t seen it yet, but it sounds pretty intriguing.
Every audience member who comes to see the organ will be given a glass of Johnny Walker Blue Label and when they sip it and watch the show, Bompas and Parr claims “the flavour of the liquid in their mouths will change and evolve through six essential flavour characteristics as the sound and images in front of them change”.
Bompas & Parr has engaged flavour scientists from Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory and created a musical composition based on this. They have also worked with organ specialist Mander Organs.
Following its London appearance this week The Flavour Conductor will embark on a global tour taking in Madrid, Berlin, Toronto, New York, Johannesburg, Lagos and Malaysia.