Within the curatorial scaffolding of Sensorium, Roundangle presents a live art experience with smell as its central provocation. Pivoting around an olfactory evocation of the seven cardinal vices, audience members are enticed into an interactive dining event entitled Potion, Dining with the Scent of Sins. Upon being greeted by a Maître d’ and ensemble of suitably attired, albeit slightly nonchalant waiters, audience members are formally seated. The table setting is configured with ramshackle dilapidated Victorian chairs, a landscape of candles and all the symbolic trappings of a slightly askew, fine dining establishment. The diners are then tempted to select from a menu of scents, a texture menu and finally, some items to taste.
Devised by Artistic Director Jodie Ahrens, the production of this polyphonic symphony of vices was initially composed from a series of adjectives before being custom designed by One Seed perfumery. As part of the brief, the intention was for the scents to function on both a conceptual associative level as well as a chemical one. Wrath employs a vengeful arrangement that includes notes of frankincense and the sharp, nostril burning discordancy of black pepper. Conversely, Lust encapsulates an accord of botanicals known to promote aphrodisiac qualities found in the syrupy cadence of jasmine and ylang ylang, punctuated with the autumnal musk of patchouli. A pinch of seaweed and a hint of cepes mushroom is added to evoke the earthy saltiness of flesh. For Greed, think Wall Street, banknotes and overbearing pine cologne with some roasted sea shells for a slightly gourmand profile. Gluttony oscillates between an appetite stimulant generated from cacao and vanilla, and the subsequent feeling of nausea. This is rounded off with the warm base notes of peru balsam.
Rather than relying on a traditional linear narrative structure, this work functions more as a point of departure where the audience partake in an open ended theatricised happening, becoming the central protagonist in their own experiential journey; as players inserted into the proverbial scene itself. From this point they are invited to discourse and create responses both verbal and with coloured pencils around whether the vials of scent meet their olfactory expectations.
Excerpt from curatorial essay ‘Sensorium’ by Anna Briers.
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Potion, Dining with the Scent of Sins, 2013
Still from interactive olfactory performance