Tinctures, Tastes and Textures

Created exclusively for the RA's Open House weekend, Tinctures, Tastes & Textures was an architecture tour designed to engage visually impaired individuals. Led by Tasha Marks of AVM Curiosities, and accompanied by artist educator Harry Baxter, the event revealed the layered histories of the Royal Academy building through touch, taste and smell.

'What I'm trying to do is really enhance the things that you don't pick up as a sighted visitor, so the things which maybe partially sighted people are more aware of; how the room feels, the textures, the sound, the size, the smells [...] it's enhancing the experience they have, not trying to provide a shadow of an experience which they don't.' - Tasha Marks

The 6 points of the tour were each paired with a specific flavour or sensation that enhanced the historic subject, taking away the need to rely on sight. Each space was audio described by Harry Baxter while the historic storytelling and sensory element was provided by Tasha Marks. The event was part of an ongoing access programme at the RA and a rare hands-on opportunity to explore the relationship between architecture, food and history.

Tinctures, Tastes and Textures MENU

1 - The Saloon
Paired with furry foot coverings
Turing the public back into the domestic

2 - The General Assembly Room
Paired with port sweets
In honour of "Sloshua Reynolds"

3 - The Royal Academy Library
Paired with the smell of books
... and learning how to date a book by its scent

4 - The Front Courtyard
Paired with the smell of pineapple
A symbol of welcome, wealth and banquets

5 - The Royal Academy Schools
Paired with the cast of a skeleton
To illustrate the use of anatomy in art

6 - Burlington Gardens
Paired with the smell of petrichor
From 21st century urban to 17th century rural roots

Tinctures, Tastes and Textures | The Royal Academy of Arts, London | 20 September 2014.