Smellcapsule 2122 (fig. 1) is a time capsule of smells presented inside a box that was originally from the 1920s (see fig. 2). Hence the capsule that is to be sent into the future 100 years is already 100 years old, allowing for the piece to exist over a long time and assist us in thinking more deeply about the future. The box contains a series of olfactory reflections relating to my site-responsive practice and research. The olfactory materials captured ponder the sensory repercussions of the slowly unfolding climate crisis and attempt to preserve local smellscapes and olfactive ecologies of the present time. The fragrances within the box are designed to be preserved as an olfactory time capsule for future generations.
As the atmospheric conditions on Earth shift, “the transitory and unstable nature of smell offers the opportunity to work with temporality and animate art by giving it vital impetus” (Muller, 2018, p. 99).
The work plays on the conception of a time capsule that you may have produced and potentially buried or stored as a child, usually, they hold historic, personal, and or precious objects of to be dug up or retrieved in the future. I remember when I was in primary school, my classmates and teacher put together a time capsule that contained things such as prized toys like a Tamagotchi, drawings, paper clippings, and letters for the future. Intending to share knowledge about our present lives with future generations that might, I questioned if the smells that I was researching were to go extinct in fifty years. I wondered how the site-specific fragrances might act like ancient bones in an archeological dig that gives us information about extinct species. Or if these fragrances might one day preserve the experiences of the various smellwalks and ecologies that related to each site. Smellcapsule 2122 could be used as a point of reference, as insight into the olfactory perceptions of the epoch we are in and concurrent emotional relationships between smells, our bodies, and ecological crisis. Smellscapsule in its present form is also a guide to this exegesis, relating to each site and the experiences and reflections of participants that have engaged with my research over the past two years.
Muller, C. (2018). An Overview of Olfactory Art. Nez, the Olfactory Magazine, No.4.