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A Matter of Taste

20. June 2022

On June 27, a new special exhibition entitled “A Matter of Taste” opened at experimenta. In the exhibition curated by experimenta, visitors can explore their own preferences in food, music, living, love, and fashion at 24 different stations. The App Unite in Taste based on the exhibition is a source of fun and knowledge irrespective of an actual visit to experimenta.

Whether food, fashion or in love – why do people like what they do? This is a question experimenta explores in their curated special exhibition entitled “A Matter of Taste”. From June 27, 2022 until January 8, 2023, visitors can find out more about their own tastes and gain insight into the many decisions they make every day. “With ‘A Matter of Taste’ we purposely want to build a bridge from science to the visitor’s everyday life,” Dr. Christian Sichau, head of the experimenta exhibition team explains.

Tour of discovery in a colorful shipping mall
The next special exhibition has been designed in the style of a colorful shopping mall where visitors go on a tour of discovery in five sections showcasing the topics food, music, living, love, and fashion. At 24 interactive stations they have a choice: Which foods are tasty, which disgusting? What’s their favorite chair? Do they like it because of its design or function? Which ideals of beauty are all in the mind, and what voices are perceived as attractive? A visit to the exhibition is not just about decisions, but also creativity: in the fashion section, visitors can design their own sneakers or compose a hit to dance along to.

The visitor’s personal profile becomes more detailed with each station interacted with, revealing to the visitor what makes up their personal tastes and what connects them to others – or where they differ. As patterns emerge, visitors learn new things about themselves and, in particular by comparing other profiles to their own, find out how unique their own tastes really are. “An important realization, however, is that there is no right taste,” Dr. Christian Sichau emphasizes. It is quite normal to have different preferences and being different is by no means negative.

Taste through the ages
Amaranth, goji berries, or curcuma – new items are showing up on shopping lists not just for food and are suddenly considered the next ‘in’ thing. In the past, television series or music videos also played an important role in sparking trends. Today it is the digital world in the form of likes, influencers, review platforms or dating apps. The entire world is now within reach, and decisions are often made based on reviews and likes. Digital groups have long used algorithms and present users with suggestions of what they might like next. The special exhibition picks up on these points and answers the question of how much the digital world influences our tastes.

It is sometimes worthwhile to change one’s perspective to think about one’s tastes and to break habits influenced by social environments. An ideal vehicle for this is art. It has found a place in the special exhibition in the form of a mini movie theater. As a fitting complement to the five categories food, music, living, love, and fashion, projects by international artists are presented in the theater. In their photographs, they hold a mirror up to visitors, showing them the strange things that can influence one’s tastes.

Before leaving the exhibition, visitors receive a summary of their personal taste decisions. Is it really true that jazz lovers automatically also like Scandinavian design? While there is no accounting for taste, there are definite patterns to taste that are also linked by shared preferences.

Data for science
Those who wish can make their taste decisions and the resulting profile available for research purposes. experimenta is cooperating with researchers at the Heilbronn University of Applied Sciences, the University of Wuppertal, and the Max-Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt on “A Matter of Taste”. The aim is to find out more about the science behind the phenomenon of taste using anonymized visitor data. From the collected data, researchers hope to learn which factors and the aspects that influence how tastes develop and are shaped.

Anyone can participate, not just in the special exhibition, but also by using the app “Unite in Taste”. It is based on the topics of the exhibition, but can be used separately. On the app, users can explore their personal tastes in a fun and entertaining way by designing a digital avatar. In appearance, fashion style, eating habits, furnishings, or favorite music, the figure becomes an expression of their own taste. The created avatar does, however, need to complete a few tasks within the app. Those who wish can contact other players and find out more about other people’s preferences. The exhibition “A Matter of Taste” combined with the app “Unite in Taste” thus becomes a great experiment that guarantees a few surprises and is certainly a unique taste adventure.

Heilbronn shows taste
The city of Heilbronn has also drawn inspiration from the “A Matter of Taste” special exhibition and taken up the topic. Until September 18 the city on the Neckar River is bringing out the colors. Public spaces are full of flowers, flags and colorful banners as well as events and activities. As a complement to the five exhibition categories food, fashion, love, living, and music, businesses, restaurants, and cultural institutions have put together a colorful program. Theater Heilbronn is staging “Romeo and Juliet”, one of the most famous love stories of all time. Different city tours feature the architecture of Heilbronn through the ages., from the old villas to the east to the new Neckarbogen quarter. In the category food and drink, the spotlight naturally is often on wine, whether at the wine bar on Wartberg, the summer wine festivals, or, of course, the wine village that also marks the conclusion of the “Heilbronn shows taste” events.

Opening hours and prices
The special exhibition “A Matter of Taste” can be seen at the Science Center experimenta in Heilbronn from June 27, 2022 until January 8, 2023. It is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., weekends and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The special exhibition is included in the cost of admission to experimenta. Tickets for “A Matter of Taste” can also be purchased at the ticket counter. Ticket prices are EUR 7.00 for adults and EUR 4.00 discounted. More information is available online at: