the olfactory arts
December 23, 2013 7:27 AM Subscribe
Is perfume art? Could it be? Or is it something else: a craft, a commercial product, an ornament, a luxury, a prosthetic, an aphrodisiac, a love letter, a prayer, a con? Why does it matter?
The olfactory arts have intersected with various disciplines of art since at least Sadakichi Hartmann's failed "public scent concert" A Trip to Japan in Sixteen Minutes in 1902, and more successfully in the Fluxus movement through work by Takako Saito, Allison Knowles, and Ben Patterson. This intersection is now gaining a lot of current interest amongst perfume enthusiasts and contemporary artists alike, including the creation of specific magazines and blogs dedicated to exploring scent and perfumery through artistic and aesthetic lenses.
One of the biggest events melding the worlds of perfumery and art was MAD Museum's The Art of Scent exhibition in 2012-2013, curated by scent critic and journalist Chandler Burr. This event prompted analysis and reviews of the experience of the museum exhibit and Burr's language in perfume criticism, especially using the frameworks of major art movements.
Contemporary artists such as Maki Ueda, Sissel Tolaas, Christophe Laudamiel, and Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik center the use of scent in their work, while perfumers such as Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Brent Leonesio, and The Institute of Art and Olfaction actively collaborate with artists to provide an olfactory dimension to their work.
Some projects involving the olfactory arts include:
* Christophe Laudamiel's Green Aria, a "scent opera" pairing classical music with fragrance
* Maki Ueda's interactive deconstruction of the iconic Chanel No. 5 as part of V2_'s Test_Lab
* Maria Loboda’s recreation of an early 20th century smoking room and garden complete with accompanying fragrance
* Samples of the scents of Martynka Wawrzyniak's sweat, tears, and hair
* Eduardo Kac's Aromapoetry, a poetry book written exclusively with scent
* Olfactory maps of Berlin by Sissel Tolaas and New York by Katherine Harmon (make your own!).
* A collaboration between Brent Leonesio and Austin young subverting the tropes of perfume advertising, including concepts of beauty, glamour, and luxury, through rethinking the design of the scent, packaging, and marketing campaign
* Brian Goeltzenleuchter's Sillage, involving fragrances corresponding to the zipcodes of museum patrons
* The scent of Facebook, created by IAO in collaboration with Marcos Lutyens's Social pharmakon, exploring interpersonal communication through social media
(thank you ask mefi for all the great links that sparked this post!)
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