Installation View: Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts, Taipie, Taiwan. Materials - timber, perspex, coal samples, aroma chemistry, electronic aroma delivery system, stereo speakers and sound.
Lumps of coal found on the edge of the Wollemi wilderness were taken from the middle of a dirt road that runs through the the Newnes State Forest. Custom tables made in our workshop housed the emission of these gaseous rocks into the gallery space of the Kuandu Museum of Fine Arts. Coal has little smell in and of itself, (possibly because carbon is not smelly) but these stones became a support for the aroma of damp earth that fills the gallery space.
Geosmin, a relatively hard to obtain aroma substance that is isolated from a harmless bacteria, is mixed into a number of modifying aroma chemicals, these relatively non smelly chemicals give silage and body to a fragrance. Everybody who smells the fragrance gets this damp earthy smell immediately, and most seem to like it. I wonder if its because in the distant past, our noses were much closer to the ground? They say you can detect Geosmin at about 1 part per billion. I smell it in patches every time I am out in the bush. It would be worth serving pure beetroot juice with this work, then you could drink what you are smelling.