The Seven Scents

Performative action
Media: costumes, 7 deck chairs, 7 atomizers (scent contents various), scent strips, 7 CD players with headphones
Dimensions: 20’x4’x3’
Soundtrack duration: 1-5 min. loops

The Seven Scents is a sound-scent journey that uses, as a point of departure, the legendary exoticism and adventure of the Seven Seas. The Seven Scents provides an occasion for virtual travel. Targeting the high volume tourist population of the performance locale, this work presents options for traveling through a sampling station of matched smells and sounds associated with travel. Each set of smell/scent is named after one of the Seven Seas (e.g. Scent No. 2 North Atlantic is paired with the sounds of an airport terminal). Cruise ship deck chair recliners face the waters of Lake Ontario and invite passersby to lie back, relax, listen to a series of soundscapes and inhale the ambiance of travel via freshly sprayed scent strips. Like spa therapists, the artists gently facilitate each lounger’s sensorial reverie.

Transportation and memory are two key means of escape in the effort to get away. Transportation is conjured and memory is triggered via a series of white noise sounds recorded at seven targeted sites related to travel, in-between states of transitional spaces i.e. bus stations, airports, etc. These places in which travelers are often stuck offer, ironically, a space for reverie and contemplation where the process of getting there is often more enlightening than actually arriving. The series of scents is based on the desire for escape in combination with the inescapable everyday. Using a base of a mass-produced perfume, a perfume that promises ‘an ocean breeze passing over floral and exotic notes’, seven related eau de toilette scents were concocted. They employ a base note of salty sea and incorporate post-industrial smells within the top, bottom and middle notes. Distilling sound and scent, romance and reality, the piece contemplates the fantasies of escape and the odious actualities of tourism.