San Diego Museum of Art commissioned a new olfactory project that is an outcome of a collaboration with poet, Katharine Whitcomb. This project riffs on the museum's Summer Salon Series' theme, What does a city need? in relation to the exhibition which inspired the theme: Gustav Stickley and the American Arts & Crafts Movement. Kathy and I are really interested Stickley, in particular the ways in which his utopian ideas were organized, disseminated and received. Our project will attempt to draw comparisons to contemporary social paradigms (small house movement, shipping container houses ... those kinds of things) and the cheerful naivete in which they are often consumed. The project launches July 28, during the Economy and Social Consumerism evening, and will continue for the rest of the series.
Here is a short overview: This primarily non-visual, collaborative artwork relies on scent and poetic text. Using as a point of departure SDMA’s theme, What does a city need? this project juxtaposes a poetic text printed on a fragrance blotter against an artist-made scent into which the blotter is dipped. Upon request, Summer Salon patrons receive a blotter which is lightly scented and highly transportable. The blotters become points of personal reflection and conversation pieces.
More info as it develops.
UPDATE: All is well, although the blotters were stuck in customs for a gut wrenchingly long time. I worked with Nick Liefhebber, a Dutch designer who has helped me on many projects. Print studios in Holland seem to be far less expensive and use higher quality materials than those in the States - at least those familiar to me. The paper stock we were using for this project was especially important because it needed to effectively function as a perfume blotter, to carry the scents that I designed without any paper or sizing smells. But it also needed to be sculpturally durable due to the size and use of the object. And finally it needed to carry the inks well enough to crisply render Kathy's poems. It's always the small projects that seem easy to execute.
So when the project finally shipped two weeks before the projects opened I thought we were in great shape. But apparently customs thought we were smuggling drugs or something. All is well, though. Alexandar Jarman, SDMA curator and organizer of this Summer Salon Series, has been so cool to work with. The project will be featured for the rest of the Series. Check it out if you can.