Considering Smell

I was walking in the hills this morning and came across a loud buzzing sound. In front of me was an impressive stone wall so tall it towered over my head, and covering every inch of one side of it was an ivy in flower. The flowers are small, green and unexciting to look at. Bees were making a substantial amount of noise, so much so that I began looking for a nest. I was in an engaged frame-of-mind for a fleeting second before the inertia of my movement caught me again and made my feet ready to keep walking.

At that moment the smell of the drab flowers captured my attention so powerfully it was almost like a special effect in a film. I saw the plant for real for the first time, it was as tho I heard it utter a word describing itself to me. My focus changed, the leaves acquired a new sense of detail and I found myself looking intently at the flowers and how their power was not in their visual appearance at all.

And so the idea came to me that in a world of noise and movement and distraction and media and ads and products to buy, one sense that is under-used to communicate with is smell. If my project is going to operate in a slower time-frame than everything else around it, then it increases its chances of being profoundly memorable if it also emits a stink.

Some of the most effective cubes I have made to date were created using soil gathered from the floor of a pine-forest. After the rain the needles released their smell and it added to their simple beauty.


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