I began working with aroma in 2003. In 2005 I made my first work with it, The Phantom Leaves. Aroma has also played a role in collaborative works with Joyce Hinterding. The first time we used aroma was for the two ozone smelling aroma sketches in the installation EarthStar. We first showed this work in 2008 at the Gallery of Modern Art in the Premier of Queensland New Media Art prize, curated by Nicholas Chambers. EarthStar gained a prestigious award of distinction at Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria in 2010 in the hybrid arts category.
My personal aroma studio at Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney University is all about making artworks and learning the methodologies of the traditional perfumer and applying these techniques in art contexts. Rather than seek out a “hired gun” perfumer as many other artists have in the past, somewhat in the same way a designer or the fragrance industry might meet a perfume brief, I have chosen a longer and for me far more absorbing and complicated path by learning these skills myself. Much of this knowledge is ‘new knowledge,’ the craft of perfumery has always been a black art and a very difficult one at that as a practice. Sourcing the materials of aroma chemistry is challenging in itself, let alone being able to actually make something interesting with them. I have built a substantial library of single molecules and custom accords and an environment in which to safely work with them.
I based my doctoral studies on the question of aroma composition as an underutilized medium and sensation in contemporary art. I was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from Sydney University in 2013, my thesis is titled Osmologies: towards aroma composition. I intend to rework parts of the thesis into a more speculative and less academic form of writing in the future. The studio is currently devoted to producing artworks from the studio of Haines & Hinterding and at this time it is not available for outside commissions or collaborations.