Some quick experiments in using scent as a trigger in an artwork. Apparently scent is the most power of our sense (i.e. if you were to see a photo of your grandma's house, you could remember 5 things about it; yet if you were introduced to the scent of the house, you could remember 8. That's a vague memory of something I read a few years ago). The hard part about using scent though is finding something that is universal, that a group of people could empathize with (for me it seems as though scent-recognition would be rather specific from one person to another). Upon thinking about it, as an Australian, I though the combination of sunscreen, fried food, and chlorine would hopefully summon up some thoughts that would be somewhat universal amongst a group of people. Even with these simple tests, a strange world of thought arose in me when I combined them: it took me back to Primary School, and right back to my old swimming carnivals. The test was a success, although I need now to figure out how I would facilitate scent in an artwork (what the mechanism would be).
This is not a new idea, using scent in artwork. It was achieved by Greatest Hits, as art collective, who captured the scent of a new Macbook Pro and, and exhibited the work at WestSpace Gallery (I think two years ago?). Another artist in the UK captured the scent of her grandma's jumper using a distilling technique. Whilst these are both super interesting interpretations of using scent in an artwork, they both seem to be overly superficial, or obvious choices to use as scents. It's a hard angle to approach, but hopefully I can find something that is slightly more.. abstract, in it's content. More tests to follow