Clip from olfacto-sound performance / April 25, 2015

Clip from olfacto-sound performance with Sean Francis Conway at A Ship in the Woods on April 24, 2015. 

Scents, like sounds, appear to influence the olfactory nerve in certain degrees. There is, as it were, an octave of colors like an octave in music; some odors coincide, like the keys of an instrument. Such as almond, vanilla and orange blossom blend together contents, each Producing different degrees of a similar Nearly term
— Septimus Piesse, The Art of Perfumery and Methods of Obtaining the ODORS of Plants , 1857

Septimus Piesse was a French perfumer who, in the 19th century, introduced a vocabulary to talk about smells that made use of musical metaphors, harmonies, harmonies, progression, the list goes on. Many of these terms are still used today in the perfume industry. 

He created an "odophone," a scale of smells corresponding to different pitches. By his own logic chords could be formed. This is self-evident in music. An individual note has its own frequency / characteristic, for example playing an A (440 hz). If you play 2 notes you can hear each other individually if you listen closely, but what you end up. Those relationships have distinct characteristics and even their own names. Major 2nd. Perfect 5th etc ... As you play more notes together to become more complex. Agree to olfactory? And what relationship existed between competitor perception of smell and sound?

Sean Francis Conway  and I developed this performance as a jumping off point to engage Piesse's odophone with diligence and sincerity, though we both had a lot of skepticism about the limitations of musical metaphors to explain olfaction. Using steam vapor and a handheld fan, I introduce essences from Piesse's odophone in time with Sean striking the corresponding note on a piano. Every four minutes we had a new essence and a new note, until Sean was playing a C (9, 13) and I had dispersed the corresponding essences (neroli, almond, orange, tonka, and camphor). We are currently working on a slightly more elaborate arrangement.

From The Art of Perfumery (1857), Piesse's Odophone.

From The Art of Perfumery (1857), Piesse's Odophone.

Workshop on creativity - Ortigia, Sicily / May 14, 2015

ArtsHebdo Issue on Olfactory Art / April 9, 2015