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Hennessy x Refik Anadol: neuroscience meets art

Katie Nichol

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Hennessy x Refik Anadol: neuroscience meets art

© Jeremy Deputat

On the heels of a collaboration with London-based collective United Visual Artists, Hennessy (LVMH) has unveiled the 2021 VSOP Limited Edition by Refik Anadol. The color, texture and reliefs on the carafe are inspired by an immersive work-of-art that combines tradition and technology.

For this year's VSOP Privilège Limited Edition, cognac maison Hennessy called on media artist and director Refik Anadol. The Los Angeles-based artist drew on data and AI to transcribe the emotions experienced during the meeting of the Hennessy Tasting Committee, a ritual that evaluates the eaux-de vie destined for the VSOP Privilège.

Anadol worked with Professor Adam Gazzaley from UCSF (University of California San Francisco) on the neuroscientific tools and measurements to create specific software for the project. An electroencephalogram (EEG) was used during the Tasting Committee’s meeting to collect data that was then combined with AI to create the artwork.

“We decrypt heart rate, brain signals, skin conductivity, body temperature, all at the moment of sensing,” Anadol explains, which allows the artist to “measure the data, validate it, and use it as input – or ‘pigments’ - for a work of art.”

The result is a 3D data sculpture called Sense of Heritage, described as an “immersive audio-visual installation”.  The Tasting Committee’s emotions were also transcribed using 3D data mapping into the color, shapes, reliefs and textures adorning the carafe of the 2021 VSOP Privilège Limited Edition. A QR code on the bottle gives access to a digital platform that brings the immersive art experience to life.

"In our craft, we are constantly classifying, describing, and trying to find exactly the right words to convey our impressions and experiences," remarked Renaud Fillioux de Gironde, Hennessy's eighth generation Master Blender. "We were all very intrigued to see what elements technology might bring to light."

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