Presentation at the Smell Lab

Smell Lab, Spektrum

Recently I had the chance to present my work at the Spektrum Art and Science Community, which is a project space that offers a platform for artists to showcase and present artworks that are based on different technological medias. Smell Lab is one of the communities presented at Spektrum. Here scientists, artists, students and other nose enthusiasts dedicate themselves to “olfactory experiments.”

Lovely Klara Ravat is the founder and creative brain behind the Smell Lab. As well as, coordinating the Community, organizing events and bringing innovative exploration ideas, she creates media and odor artworks, installations and experimental films. Klara came to me with the idea to present some of the creams which were part of the Dialogues.

Synesthetic journey

The session began with a short meditation, with the purpose to still the mind and prepare the sences. The participants were given 4 formulations; each devoted to one element presented in nature: earth, water, fire, air, minerals, aether, etc.

Cream #1 was based on the element earth. Heavy, green and giving birth. The texture I chose for this emulsion was therefore heavy, creamy, nourishing. To reach this, I used the emulsifier Montanov TM68 (INCI: Cetearyl Alcohol and Cetearyl Glucoside), which is a natural emulsifier approved by ECOCERT / COSMOS / NATRUE. It is not irritant, non-comedogenic and is extracted from coconut oil and starchy cassava.

To emphasize the richness of the formula, I used oils suitable for dry, pale, irritated skin, like Marula, Wheat Germ, Baobab Oil, Shea Butter. Finally the fragrance had to represent the Earth element, with it’s thick, moist, green and sometimes dusty odor. I created this accord with the essential oils of Galbanum, Petitgrain and Vetiver.

The olfaction during each testing was supported by an audio experience. For each element, Berlin based artist Tatsumi Ryusui created a track, using sounds from nature and from the cream making process, including glass, water, metal, fire sounds. The idea was to explore the synergies of different media and how they, in compound, can create a harmonious experience. After each test, the audience was aked to write down the associations that arose during the process. Participants found that the experience evoked images of certain places and colours in their minds as well as emotions, certian times of day and memories.

#1 – dark blue/green, dense forest, overgrown garden, late summer in an abandoned town

#2 – purple/lilac, fresh/cold, winter garden, sleepy, night, snow

#3 – rotten fruit, dark, soil, geraniums, grandmothers garden, daylight

#4 – birthday cake, warm, cofee, cream, pink, exuberance, orange

It was exciting to observe the synesthetic journeys of the participants.

Thanks Klara, Smell Lab and Spektrum!