Thursday, 2 December 2010

Testing heating liquids up to disperse the odor into the air.
Thick oils seemed to work best for pungent odor.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

By confining myself so a stripped down studio environment, I wrapped myself in as much bandage as possible, followed by a layer of cling film to make sure there was sweat.

Whilst being bound, I listened to a piece of music that I deem, personally, to be emotional from a slightly melancholic angle.

This was filmed for me, and photograhic documentation was also taken. However, this video itself poses many problems.
The problematic subject of the documentation keeps occurring within my work. This piece for example runs the risk of being interpreted in ways not suitable for the subject I would like to communicate.
The female form, being bound and sexual issues can be associated with these kind of images, along with the documentation instantly being mediated by the music that i used for the performance.

It starts to become apparent that the documentation of my work can be problematic.
It may be that it is necessary for my work to be live performance.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

After taking some time to look at these images ( and the objects themselves ), i began to feel the relevance of the 'diary entry' that accompanies the bandages. I began to consider ways in which I could control these 'scents' that were being emitted by my body.

Situating myself so that I could almost, categorise, the bandages according to emotions, or physical changes my body was experiencing .

Here I first tried it out with someone helping me to film me whilst I was in bed, on the verge of falling asleep.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Collection of human scent

Over the summer my efforts to try and contact Sissel Tolaas ended in failure...for now. However I couldn't stop thinking about the way she handles scent and the transitions that they follow. From having Headspace technology in a lab, she is able to reproduce scents with synthetic components. So after collecting the fresh sweat of wrestlers from their soaked t-shirts in her fragrance, Violence, Tolaas is able to chemically reproduce the components which make up the sweat formula into a tangible object by bottling the liquid.
The final transition of the scent happens when she wears the fragrance at the opening of her exhibition.
She described the scent as being able to unnerve people whilst wearing it upon her skin.

I was interested in capturing this form of scent in relation to my own bodily odors, that may be produced due to how i had been feeling emotionally and psychically at the time.

Wrapping a piece of material around the area in which i sweat most, replacing them every 24hours, was my method for this.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Exhibiting Fragrance......

Co-founder of Lush Cosmetics, Mark Constantine and his son Simon Constantine conceptualised the form of fragrance by exhibiting their creations in Shoreditch Town Hall basement from the 12th to the 18th July 2010.

The exhibition consisted of a labyrinth, leading the viewer from one room, (and more importantly) fragrance to another.

Invigilators were contained within each space to explain concept, and the process of creation for each perfume.

'Orange Blossom' - Inspired by the Mediterranean breeze that carries the aroma Orange Blossom itself, the creation of this fragrance works to focus on the ingredient itself, using a carefully selected composition of other floral notes to emphasise this fragrance. Conceptually it is designed to be a motional scent, transporting wearers to a sense of traveling through and experiencing scents of orange groves.

The most important factor to take from this exhibition is the realisation of the such prominent role that the olfactory has in our lives. Being within such a confined space, unavoidably being intoxicated by the surrounding scents, entices, and sometimes, forces viewers to make begin making links to their visual surroundings, helped by the performance and stories delivered by each invigilator. In fact, the perfumes often had the effect of triggering and revealing memories for individuals (as scents often do), adding and expanding to the persons means of perceiving the odors at hand.
Simon's, The Smell of Freedom and Mark's Collection of The Three Ladies particularly exercise this method of creating fragrances by taking inspiration of scents and oils on located to their experiences, whether these be humans or locations.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Gorilla Perfumes.....

Perfumers Mark and Simon Constantine exhibit their fragrant creations.....

Friday, 28 May 2010

Machines of scent

Heres a few links to people actively working with scents through technology, to offer chances to disperse smells in conjunction with our environments.

Though I do enjoy working with perfume, as an idea of it being dispersed onto and emanateing from individuals skin, as well as this 'Sillage' effect perfumers describe as the trail of a scent from a human, it may be that i will have to use these means of technology to make the scent strong enough to be present within the room....

Problems that may occur:
  • Prices range from £100 - £350 not including scent cartridges
  • Though there are 1000's of scents to choose from none of these are my own scents i have been producing from essential oils (Attempt to collaborate with company to produce a customised scent? This will inevitably cost money I will not have)
  • Spectators will be unable to take this scent away with them (bottled), which is a main part of the nostalgic/epiphany process I am interested in bringing to my audience...

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone, MA Exhibition 'Show', 15th May 2010

Our exhibition at the Hazlitt gave us grounds for testing our ideas and practice so far with the work we have produced so far during the development stages of the course.

My aim for the exhibition was to perform an act of 'sillage' (the scent that follows a woman after she leaves the room). So I began to compose a perfume consisting of strong traditional floral scented heart and base notes to evoke and atmosphere of ladies visiting the theatre around the 1900's.

By constantly dousing my body and clothes with the scent and walking around the space, and people, i hoped that the scent would (even subconsciously) be noticed by visitors, and conversation regarding the scent would come about.

The bottled scents were placed on a plinth with instructions of usage, encouraging people to actively smell the scent at a later date and make their own decisions about where the scent transports them in their memories.

Researching Minimalism and artists works concern issues often generated when producing such forms of works, lead me to consider my installation in greater terms of spatiality and the effect darkness can have on our perceptions, to the factors presented to us.

James Turrell (Ganzfeld) and Miroslaw Balka (How it is, 2009) often confront the viewer with a space and aspect capable of distortion to their perceptions due to low light conditions. Issues of heightened self-awareness come into play and we are often forced into relying on senses we are less familiar to using for navigation.

I have attempted to plunge my viewers into a darkness (as dark as the surrounding space will allow me), with only an extremely dim spot light to lead the spectator to the location they need to be in.

Ben and I spent time considering and working with the architectural aspects of the space, to create our sound.

As well as adapting the frequencies and tones to experiment with what was successful considering their physical effects, we were able to discover that two outputs of sound were not sufficient enough for this effect of immersion we were aiming for, as the scent being dispersed into the space and surrounding the viewer, we wanted the sound to take similar form so they are both able to resonate around the audience.

Placing speakers at different heights, at selected parts of the room, carried the sound to it's full potential. It also allowed us to discover that nearer to the ground was the most affective area in which to receive full qualities of the sound, thus providing the spectator with an area to sit within the duration of the piece.

Experimentation with the adapting the notes of sound (still basing it on Septimus Piesse's theory) lead to the adaptation of the oils used for the scent.

Peppermint and Rosemary were too similar in odor, and sound, so to add greater variation to the sound we replaced Rosemary with ginger.
The formula for the perfume now stands as :
  • Sweet Orange Oil
  • Peppermint
  • Ginger
  • Ylang Ylang

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Making Noise

Making Smells

Attempting to formulate a scent using the basic principles of perfume making, composed of a Base Note, Middle Note, and Top Note (though I have two of these due to their properties that i feel appropriate for the feelings i want to attempt to induce.)

It is not that i am interested in creating a 'harmonious' (Piesse, 1857) orchestration of scent, that may be conventionally pleasureable to the trained perfumer, I have a greater concern for the affects of the essential oils, and to combine them to produce conflicting feelings on participants. Corresponding with the music being produced for the duration of the piece, I am interested in producing an indefinite feeling, similar when we experience notions of nostalgia.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Art of Perfumery

This is potentially one of the most intriguing concepts i have come across, and would like to adapt such a theory to incorporate into my piece, as a method of tying in the scents and music.
George William Septimus Piesse produces a theory of which to correspond notes of music to 'notes' contained in scents, thus, in theory, composing a'harmonious' formation of music, will do the same for the corresponding scents. This can also work in opposition to produce something of discordance.

'Remembrance of Smells Past'

BBC Radio 4, has aired an absolutley fascinating show about how we can use scents as a means of bringing memories past, that we may have forgotten about alltogether, to the forefront of our minds.

BBC Radio 4’s, Remembrance of Smells Past (2010), guides us through presenter Ian Peacocks personal experience of the scientific experiments carried out to test the transitional, and inevitably nostalgic, and uncanny affects of smells. He asks questions as to whether we can use it as a tool to consciously influence and even manipulate our emotional states.

He continues to use writer Marcel Proust’s example of a sudden provoked memory produced from a Madaline cake, in his book Remembrance of Things Past. (1913-1927)

“No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palette, than a shudder ran through my whole body and I stopped intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses with no suggestion of it’s origin. Suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was of a little piece of Madeline, which on Sunday mornings my Aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea. Immediately the old grey house on the street where her room was, rose up like a stage set, and the entire town, with it’s people and houses, gardens, church and surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being from my cup of tea.” (Proust, 1913)

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Nostalgia within scents

Whilst considering what kind of feeling to induce within my installation, feelings of 'nostalgia' are a tempting direction to head in.

When experiencing certain smells that effect us emotionally, it is usually the case that we are transported back to our childhood, as this is when we first experience such notions, and they can be the strongest.
This would be an interesting angle to approach this 'experience', but fear that everyone's version, can vary. It would seem that peoples relation to smells can be extremely subjective culturally.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Installation Test No.1

With the room painted white, it provides me with a clean space to start from scratch. Combining the ambient sounds made by Ben Jackson ( posted here on the blog, with the aid of a smoke machine, and the best way I could think of to disperse Eycalyptus, Menthol, and Peppermint oils in the space, I attempted to create a form of displacement for the audience when entering the room.

-The sound reverberated off the walls affectively, but a much higher quality (and bigger) soundsystem is needed to be able to, pick up the frequencys being created.

-The scent certainly needs to be stronger, and even to be considered is applying it to audiences skin, so the smell emanates off them, and almost becomes in tune with their bodies....

-I would like to provide some form of strong light in the next test, and begin to correspond colours, with scent and sound...

Linking a scent to an event....

Remembering from experience, the power smells can have in bringing back, feelings amongst many other notions, from certain periods of time, I decided to experiment with this, to see just how powerful the sense of memory can be when presented with a familiar scent.
Applying the strong smelling scent to each persons skin each hour, for around 4 hours, and leaving the bottles scent to disperse around the warm room, made sure that the scent was present at all times.

Going back to this scent myself, I feel an overwhelming feeling of being transported in some way, back to significant parts of that night, such as the dim lighting, feeling very fatigued and also the types of food we were eating copious amounts of.

I planned to reunite my subjects also with the scent, at some point, to see what notions they experience when having this particular scent around them again.

If this is successful in rekindling aspects of that period of time, this may be a method I use within my piece.

Could it be that I could provide visitors to my piece of work with a sample of the scent emanated around them, to provide them with a way of once again engaging with the experience they were having within that time.

This could be highly subjective but lead to interesting results as a consequence of this.


To be enveloped by a sense, to create a surrounding/atmosphere. To create a connection, a union with the given object/actor.

Similar to the way Suskind decribes the way his characters mind reacts to scents, in Perfume (1987).

“He saw nothing, he heard nothing, he felt nothing. He only smelt the aroma of the wood rising up around him to be captured under the bonnet of the eaves. He drank the aroma, he drowned in it, Impregnating himself through his innermost pores, until he became wood himself.” (Suskind, 1987)

Similar to the aims of Carston Hollers work, I endeavor to produce unfamiliar feelings or evoke a form of atmosphere ...

Carsten Holler

Lichtwand (2000)

"Several thousand lightbulbs flash incessantly at 7.8 hz - a frequency that is synchronous to that of brain activity and thereby capable of inducing visual hallucinations in the viewer. [...] It is a work designed to dislocate and disorient" (Bishop, 2005)

Former biologist Carsten Holler, uses his former scientifc education, to transfer in his art practice to create works which can affect his audeince on a deeper physical and a psychological level.
His works aim to induce affects, such as disorientation in Lichtwand, and feelings including 'love', within such as the pieces, Solandra Greenhouse, where we are invited into a room containing plants containing, 'pheromones capable of inducing amorous feelings' (

And Pea Love Room, a similar idea but with a stronger participatory intent, as the viewers are to get into the sex belts, and inject themselves with the chemical phenylethylamine (PEA) using the provided syringe.


Creating a form of disorientation for the subjects was acheived by blindfolding, and leading them down into a basement. I asked them to feel their way around, paying close attention to how they would respond to the forms on the walls.

To my surprise people did not show reluctance to touching and getting a sense of their surroundings (I thought there would be much hesitation).
What was most interesting, was that after a few minutes had past, and I had allowed them to take off their blind folds, some were in a position of feeling moderate disorientation, as they envisioned the space they were exploring to be vastly different.

Spatial aspects can be considered here, possibly look in to Gaston Bachelard's, The Poetics of Space.
From this process I have found that working with a space in which to contain things may be a constructive way in which to work. Also creating some form of experience for my subjects, is something which interests me greatly.