discovering the five senses

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Your Guides Through the Senses


SIGHT- a workshop with Michel Reilhac


Michel Reilhac is an independent interactive story architect. He is a pioneer in Virtual Reality filming. He is also a thought-leader for hybrid forms of storytelling, and immersive, participatory, and interactive experiences.


The best way to appreciate something we take for granted is to be deprived of it.

Therefore, not being able to use our eyes for a while is a very radical way of becoming aware of how much we rely on Sight to function in every aspect of our lives.

I invented the concept of events in full darkness with blind people as guides in the early nineties with the exhibition Amazing Arts (Les Arts Etonnants) in Paris in 1992, Dark/Noir at the Avignon Festival in 1993, and the first restaurants in full darkness in Paris from 1994 on. And I have always been fascinated by how deep the impact of such an experience was on everyone who participated.

In this workshop, every participant will be asked to wear an eye mask from the very beginning as we gather in a dark space. They will not see me during the whole experience, only at the end once it is over. Deprived of our prime sense, we will do tasks and we will interact with each other in a completely different way. Writing in a blind state will also be involved. We will remain without sight for about three hours. We will recover our sight in a ritualized fashion. And we will end by sharing and discussing what the experience felt like over food and wine.


HEARING – a wokshop with Nicola Tescari


Nicola Tescari studied classical piano in Milan, and composition and orchestral conducting at New England Conservatory, in Boston. Since 1995 he composed music for theatre, for feature films and for TV series. He arranged for Sting and is currently a member of Katia and Marielle Labèque’s foundation’s artistic committee.


The Hearing is the first sense which a foetus develops. A child feels the pounding world within the amniotic fluid while he still floats in the placenta: does he hear it or listen to it? What is the difference between hearing and listening to? Is it the same difference which lays between existing and being? Noise is to sound, what chaos is to balance, what ingenuity is to consciousness, that is to say, what hearing is to listening to. And when does a sound become harmony? In the instant in which the acoustic vibration acquires a meaning, when the physical event is associated to an intention. Producing harmony means creating a noise which contains a meaning, or concerting a sound which embraces an intention. Our journey throughout the Hearing will be a path which will start in silence, then will go through noise in order to reach harmony; and will also be a journey back, à rebours, from harmony to silence, in order to verify how it is possible to feel and appreciate melody and the content of silence.


TOUCH – a Lesson of Senses and Drawing with Glauco Della Sciucca


Glauco Della Sciucca is a professional reporter, industrial designer, editorial illustrator and satiric writer. He started very young with an illustration on the legendary New Yorker column «Talk of the Town»; for many years he drawned for Columbia Journalism Review, the Columbia University Magazine, then for The New York Review of Books, The Jewish Week, The Brooklyn Rail. He designed the «Black and White Special» watch by Swatch.


In the age of virtual reality and of the “applications that make life easier”, the five senses are still the best way to live life, the feelings and the perception of surroundings, the best way to communicating with the other human beings and the nature. And it’s using the five senses that we realize that, after all, the touch-screen by definition is not a fifteen inches LCD, but the whole world in front of us, inside and outside – the whole world out and in of us. In this sense the lesson on the Touch aims precisely to this purpose: living in harmony as much as possible the tactile part of our senses. The participants will be invited to develop the tactile sensitivity through the practice of drawing: one of the primal tactile activities of the human being on the planet. An “handmade experience” that participants will live using the most important tools to feel and express the Touch in a creative way: skin, hands, fingers and fingertips. Two hours full of perceptions and sensations. Two hours where it’ll be possible to draw with the own hands on paper, using pencils or pens or – why not – the soil around us; drawing what we see around us: from the crystal clear glass of a glass of red, passing through the drawing of a hill, or the sketch of the face of our neighbour, or the scribble of an intimate sensation. A way in order to get closer to the true meaning of the fifth – last but no least – sense. The Touch.


SMELL – a workshop with Alessandro Avataneo


Working in more than 30 countries between Europe, North America and Japan, Turin-based Italian author and filmmaker Alessandro Avataneo directs “almost anything that can be directed, from a flea circus to a Biennale of Architecture”, including documentary features, animated shorts, art installations, theatre, TV and musical shows.


What is that puzzled expression which appears on your face whenever you approach a wine at a blind tasting, where its label can’t influence your judgment and you diligently keep your nose in the glass, hoping that someone else will try to say something about it so you can nod profusely or mildly disagree? Although more powerful, Smell is perhaps the most neglected sense in storytelling. This is mainly due to the difficulty of putting anything that concerns the invisible world of aromas, scents, perfumes, stink or effluvia into words, or any audiovisual form of representation.

During this lecture you will use your nose and memory intensively and extensively. You will be presented with some good examples of smell in narratives, then you will learn and memorize the fundamental aromas of wine in the best possible way, which means smelling and comparing them, and finally you will train your ability to describe a wonderful cultural object such as wine in the most empirical way: tasting and trying to describe its aromas beyond hackneyed expression like little red fruit, learning how to master tricky descriptors like mineral or goudron.


TASTE – a workshop with Luca Scarlini


Luca Scarlini is a playwright, essayist, translator, art administrator, exhibition curator and editorial consultant for many publishing houses. He writes and he teaches in many universities in Italy and abroad about XXth Century Playwriting, relationships between literature and music, writing regularly for publications of opera houses.


“About tastes nothing to say”, as goes an ancient Italian proverb. Tastes are both natural and cultural: but they may obviously be changed, fashioned, manipulated by the global and local markets. They may respond to cultural and political issues: they may quickly change their role in our habits. To understand what Taste means in nowadays society, is to understand a very important feature of our culture. Foods, wines, spices have today, as always, to be fashionable and then often disappear: in many cases politics are involved in the process. Tea became the trademark of American revolution, after Kiwi had to become a New Zealand glory, because American market couldn’t accept in the ’60s its Chinese origins. Cato the Censor advocated in the Roman Senate for Carthage destruction showing around figues just arrived from the too near enemy town. Today food and wine culture is widely developed: what was before common production in the peasant economy in Italy, now is a precious item in the best shops in New York and Hong Kong. Wine in European culture until the ’70s was a symbol of popular pleasures and the fuel of poetic and politic revolutions: now is a precious stone in the building of status symbol. Taste lecture will be a general introduction to the idea of Taste today, according to the aesthetics of Digital Age and a trip between poetry, music, pop world, art and cinema, exploring symbolic and metaphoric realities of wine, food and ways of living (and the environments where these things were created and are produced), from the Holy Bible to the world market, and understanding the role of those items in today’s life.