IRRATIONAL CITY SCENTS - A Collective Experiment
Composing scent is often a lonely and mainly rational process. One may feel isolated, trapped into structures and chemical reactions, in order to achieve what must be an emotional result sparked by an olfactory work. What if we broke this mold and turned it into a collective, irrational experience, not guided by academic or technical knowledge?
Much like the Surrealists used to do in their work originally, we want to get together and share a moment that is not guided by logic and rules. What will happen if we let go of the idea of perfection, and of things making sense? What if we discard the notions of authorship, and just abandon ourselves to what happens by sheer improvise (and luck)? With this experience, we want to create scents using the technique of the Cadavre Exquis, not with visual works, but with olfactory ones, inviting the audience to participate and co-create a fragrance. Let's open ourselves to what the unconscious tells us and be free. The process is simple. Klara and Miguel will add to an empty beaker the first two raw materials. After that, each member of the audience has the oportunity to smell what is inside the beaker and add one material from the available list of ingredients, in the desired proportion and quantity. The next person will do the same until we decide we have nothing more to add. Nobody will have control over what the result will be, but we all contribute to it in different ways.
We also want to create a dialogue mediated through the Tarot, letting the cards tell us what to do, and see where it leads us. Klara and Miguel will obey the cards picked by the audience and discover in the end what smells the Tarot has for us. Will this experiment smell amazing or just a chaotic mess? Will the collective audience join together for a beautiful unexpected perfume? Will the cards lead us to perfection ruled by the universe? We will never know but we want to discover and maybe have a revelation.
This project had a first trial in August at the Smell-Lab in Berlin, where we conducted the first experience, with surprising results and a phenomenal response from the audience. We were shocked to see how balanced and harmonious both scents ended up being. It made us think that there was a collective intelligence and emotion running in the room. The tarot scent process suggested strange clashes of materials in unusual proportions and in the end we couldn't believe how innovative and exciting the scent was. After this first test, we decided that it would be interesting to develop it and make it travel, in order to see how different would the Irrational Scent be depending on the city it is developed in. The first piece was Berlin, and we would love to expand the idea. Amsterdam seems to us like a perfect follow up and the perfectioning of the project after the first trial.
Join us, let your unconscious free, we will be smelling and blending together in a playful and informal manner.
Possible ways to expand the project
We hope that in the future we can do this project in many different cities in different countries. If we could have a significant number of Irrational Scents they could somehow be a “Map of the Collective Unconscious”, resulting in an Olfactory Art exhibition uniting all scents.
Miguel Matos is a perfumer from Lisbon. He was a finalist of the Art and Olfaction Awards three times, having won the award in 2020 for best Independent fragrance with Young Hearts, created for Acampora Profumi. Miguel is a writer and editor of Fragrantica.com. As a writer, his work has been recognized by the Fragrance Foundation and the Perfumed Plume Awards several times. He has a list of olfactory art exhibitions, including Making the Body Think, in Los Angeles, at the Institute for Art and Olfaction.
Klara Ravat is an olfactory artist based in Berlin. After studying qualitative trend research in Barcelona Klara moved to The Netherlands where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. She also studied Psychology at the Open University of Catalonia. Klara is the co-founder and the director of the Smell Lab, a platform for olfactory art and inter-disciplinary practices that relate to scent as a medium for expression and communication, in Berlin and in an international context.
We would ask for a room for each artist at the Mediamatic for at least 3 days.
200 Euros for plane tickets from Berlin and Lisbon to Amsterdam
350 Euros for Artist Fees
This proposal is part of the 'Penny for your Thoughts' project 2022.