FlavourCollider: The reaction of the brain to the taste of exotic drinks is picked up through the Neurosky Mindwave headset that reads EEG signals. These signals are translated into visuals in real-time on flat screen monitors.

An initial study of the 5 cocktails was undertaken in Los Angeles on April 9. Respondents were asked to write synesthetic impressions, such as colour, texture, shape and movement, of the 5 Absolut cocktails designed by Absolut supertaster Bex Almqvist.

Without going into too much detail here, it was interesting to note various coincidental responses : for instance, the four test subjects’ responses to whether there was a feeling of movement in the Club cocktail were: whirlpool, underwater, downwards and a rock rolling gently down a slope. The downwards sense of the movement in the cocktail perhaps answers to the particular lingering finish.
The study of taste seems to fit into the cultural zeitgeist, following on the heels of such chemist/chefs as the Adria Brothers of el Bulli fame.

The visuals respond to meditative vs attention oriented brain wave states. Some tastes arouse intense awareness, whereas others send one into a kind of meditative, soothing reverie.
Patterns that move quickly and are more densely packed represent the attentive, focused state, whereas patterns that move more slowly and less densely packed represent the meditative response.
The visual patterns used in this project have been developed and adapted by Claude Heiland-Allen and are based on his investigations into reaction-diffusion systems. Although this system is derived through mathematical equations, it seems to replicate the basis of many living systems.

For our purposes, this transposition of brain wave states through an algorithmic system similar to cellular automata that modify through repeated iterations brings the data to life, reflecting how the taste of each substance in the mouth evolves over time, such as described by ‘mouthfeel’, ‘long finish’,’midpalate’, as well as olfactory notes, temperature sensations and other sensory gradients.

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