Olfactory Art Keller in New York City is presenting the Ten Encounters exhibit from now until November 13. The exhibit was curated by Saskia Wilson-Brown of the Institute for Art and Olfaction and explores encounters between two individuals who shaped culture.
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For Ten Encounters, 10 global artists created olfactory interpretations of significant encounters, including a snake queen and a wood seller, artificial intelligence and the last human on earth, a Dutch trader and a Japanese shogun and others.
According to the Olfactory Art Keller, only 200 milliliters of each of the pieces will be produced to counter the perception of scents as infinitely reproducible, infinitely divisible, fungible commodities and establish works of scent art as unique objects of aesthetic appreciation.
The 10 featured artists include:
Dana El Masri, a trained perfumer and artist deeply rooted in Egyptian Lebanese culture, captured the moment when the god Amun and the pharaoh Ahmosi united to create the pharaoh Hatseputh. El Masri describes "Ahmosi and Amun" as an ancient chamber flooded with a scent that denotes divine presence.
Spyros Drosopoulos, a self-trained perfumer and former neuroscientist, interpreted the mythical king Theseus defeating the minotaur in his underground labyrinth. Drosopoulos made "Theseus and the Minotaur" as vile as his ingredients allowed.
Lakenda Wallace is a storyteller and alchemist perfumer. Her "Oshun and Ogun" is inspired by the goddess of fertility, beauty and love, Oshun, who successfully convinced the god of iron, Ogun, to leave his self-imposed forest exile and return to the city.
Ömer İpekçi, a self-taught Turkish perfumer with a background in illustration took his inspiration from the moment in which the poor wood seller Camasb stumbled upon a secret garden ruled by the snake queen Shahmaran. In his "Shahmaran and Camasb," İpekçi presents this scene viewed from the perspective of Camasb gazing at something marvelously alien with a mysterious intention behind it.
Niamh O'Connell, a botanical perfumer in Ireland depicted the romance between the Cornish knight Tristan and the Irish princess Iseult in her "Tristan and Iseult." After Tristan and Iseult inadvertently consume a love potion, they start a self-destructive adulterous relationship.
Olfactory artist Maki Ueda, who has lived in Japan as well as in the Netherlands, found inspiration in the meeting between Engelbert Kaempfer and Tokugawa Tsunayoshi, for "Tokugawa Tsunayoshi and Engelbert Kaempfer". Ueda was inspired by the insatiable appetite for knowledge and love of learning the two men shared, which is reflected in their recorded conversations.
Zhi'ang Chen, a Singaporean medicinal chemist, drew inspiration from the meeting between the Chinese envoy Admiral Zheng He and Sultan Parameswara of Malacca at the turn of the 15th century, which eventually gave rise to the uniquely Southeast Asian Peranakan/Nonya culture. His "Admiral Zheng He and the Sultan of Malacca" is a colorful olfactory collision of the spices and teas exchanged during that encounter, as well as the tropical fruits and flowers found at the crossroads of the Spice Routes.
Lula Curioca is an artist and perfumer from Spain who has explored ways to incorporate smells into objects and textiles. Curioca used the love between Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, a Mexican nun, and a Spanish viceroy, Viceroy Lysi, to create "Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz and the Viceroy Lysi."
Adedognin Abimbola is an entrepreneur who operates a wine bar and jazz club in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa. "Fela Kuti and the unknown soldier" (which was created with help from Anahita Mekanik) is inspired by a 1977 incident when Nigerian soldiers raided Kuti's commune after Kuti released music critical of Nigeria's military juntas.
Algorithmic Perfumery is a multisensory installation that integrates A.I., personal data and generative scent design. For "The Last Human on Earth and an AI," Algorithmic Perfumery (with machine input from Anahita Mekanik and Frederik Duerinck) tracked the encounter between the last human and the AI that humanity left behind.
Olfactory Art Keller is located at 25 Henry St., New York, NY, USA.