Synaesthesia / 3: History of the Senses
Carl Rowe & Simon Davenport
Sergio Maltagliati & Pietro Grossi

Opening: 22 March, 2013, 7PM
Exhibition runs: 23 March. - 12 May, 2013 (closed Easter weekend 29-31 March)
Open: Fri-Sun, 2-6 PM and by appointment

Performances: 22 March, 7PM; 23 March, 2PM & 7PM ; 24 March, 2PM & 7PM

History of the Senses deals with the phenomenon of synaesthesia from the point of view of art and media history. The two artistic positions refer back to different movements from the 20th Century giving Art Laboratory Berlin's four-part exhibition series on synaesthesia a historical component, whilst nevertheless dealing with contemporary issues.

Simon Davenport & Carl Rowe // Banquet for Ultra Bankruptcy
The British artists Simon Davenport and Carl Rowe currently work on a number of artistic projects that combine the performative with artistic research on a cultural history of the senses. Simon Davenport sees synaesthesia as a means to unsettle and disorient. In earlier performative works, for example, he combined heavy drum beats with the spraying of steam and the recitation of poetry. Carl Rowe's art projects, on the other hand, combine socio-political commentary and humour with culinary methodology. An important art historical reference point for him is Filippo Marinetti's Manifesto La Cucina Futurista (1930).The manifesto promoted the renewal of the Italian food system with the aim of the strengthening, revitalization and spiritualisation of modern society. It simultaneously included colours, shapes, textures, smells, sounds and noises.

Carl Rowe & Simon Davenport,
A Banquet of Ultra Bancruptcy, 2013

A Banquet for Ultra Bankruptcy, developed for Art Laboratory Berlin, is based on the Marinetti's manifesto, which forms the starting point for a series of performances followed by an exhibition. The overarching theme of synaesthesia provides a basis for the study of aesthetics, politics and participation, as well as for the reactions of the participants. A Banquet for Ultra Bankruptcy is made up of five performances for six guests. During a six-course menu selected foods are combined with images, sounds and scents. Each course is designed as an aesthetic experience, allowing the audience to participate in simultaneous sensations.

Sergio Maltagliati & Pietro Grossi // CIRCUS 8
The Italian composer Pietro Grossi (1917 - 2002) was one of the first programmers to contribute pioneering work in computer generated music. In 1964 he was among the first to introduce the experiments of John Cage to Italy. A year later he became the professor of electronic music at Konservatorum Luigi Cherubini in Florence. He also used his composing programs to develop early computer graphics. With the use of "QBasic" he developed the program "HomeArt".Sergio Maltagliati studied under Pietro Grossi in the 1980s and developed new methods of musical compositions, in which the score underwent a significant visualisation. Maltagliati has reworked the Grossi's original programs by adapting the programming code to create a generative program that simultaneously produces sound and abstract colours and shapes.

Pietro Grossi & Sergio Maltagliati Circus 8, 1986/2008

The work Circus 8 (1986/2008) consists of eight pieces and is based on Grossi's HomeArt programs, which automatically generated sound. Maltagliati has expanded Grossi's principle with software programs and added visual graphic variations. The visual data generated by the computer approximates the graphic score for a sound composition (cf. John Cage). Whilst the work Circus 8 adds a media historical dimension to Art Laboratory Berlin's Synaesthesia series, it also brings an important new component into the discussion: the computer as artificial brain with its own form of digital synaesthesia.

Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz (curators)

Press text as .pdf
Synaesthesia – a theoretical introduction (.pdf)

Contemporary Art Turns to the Dinner Table: Art Events Gone Gourmet in Hg2 Magazine

With the generous support of:

The Synaesthesia series is supported in part by a generous gift from Michael Schröder.


Media partner:


"Circus 8" by Sergio Maltagliati & Pietro Grossi

"Circus 8" by Sergio Maltagliati & Pietro Grossi

"A Banquet of Ultra Bankruptcy" / performance by Carl Rowe & Simon Davenport

"A Banquet of Ultra Bankruptcy" / performance by Carl Rowe & Simon Davenport

"A Banquet of Ultra Bankruptcy" / performance by Carl Rowe & Simon Davenport

"A Banquet of Ultra Bankruptcy" / performance by Carl Rowe & Simon Davenport


Special thanks to: