2016

 

SmokescreensArt Basel Miami Beach

 

Miami, United States

1/12

Smokescreen Coil #1, 2016

Copper, aerosol diffuser, Aerosol spray, strap

530mm x 820mm x 915mm (approx)

Courtesy RaebervonStenglin, Zurich

Smokescreen Coil #2, 2016

Copper, aerosol diffuser, Aerosol spray, strap

530mm x 820mm x 915mm (approx)

Courtesy RaebervonStenglin, Zurich

Smokescreen Coil #3, 2016

Copper, aerosol diffuser, Aerosol spray, strap

530mm x 820mm x 915mm (approx)

Courtesy RaebervonStenglin, Zurich

Trans-species miscommunication vacated can (apple), 2016

Aerosol spray, aerosol container, steel clamp, brass, glass, cork

300mm x 300mm x 220mm (approx)

Courtesy RaebervonStenglin, Zurich

Trans-species Miscommunication Vacated Can (corn), 2016

Aerosol spray, aerosol container, steel clamp, brass, glass, cork

300mm x 300mm x 220mm (approx)

Courtesy RaebervonStenglin, Zurich

Trans-species Miscommunication Vacated Can (acorn), 2016

Aerosol spray, aerosol container, steel clamp, brass, glass, cork

300mm x 300mm x 220mm (approx)

Courtesy RaebervonStenglin, Zurich

This new series of works make use of a scent (and scent delivery device) used by outdoorsmen, hunters and trappers to disguise scent — to limit presence and effect in order to hunt and trap prey. These products were developed for the hunting industry with the intention of cloaking the human, masking physical presence and eschewing the body. I invert this by bringing these devices indoors, and utilizing their built-in strapping device, face them inwards rather than outwards, to hold full-size sheet-copper in near-cylindrical form, whereby the deodoriser is sprayed on the cylinder’s interior.

 

The copper forms that are produced through the strapped scent-delivery device evoke a formal, minimal sculptural form — the object is self-sanitizing through the use of a cloaking scent — so the sculptural form goes about concealing and denying the human, or human interference/presence. In this denial, these scents (or non-scents really) refute the human — they try to negate human presence.

 

At the same time as they deny the human (by masking our scent) they reach across a human-animal divide and seek trans-species (mis)communication through camouflage. So although the intention of the scent is to outsmart prey, it does so through an attempt to speak the sensory language of the prey.

 

Smell is seen to hold a low status among our senses: it has often been deemed the most animal (Freud suggested that our sense of smell was at one time as important to us as it is to animals that get around on all fours; and it’s ability to be a "potent wizard" (Helen Keller, 1908) sees it work to lure us in terms that fester outside language).

 

I have been exploring the potential of fragrance as a sculptural material over the past eight years in my practice. Smell is the most enigmatic of our senses — difficult to interpret and understand — smell reaches beyond the capability of our other senses, perhaps even assuming a position closest to what we term the sixth sense — the sense of intuitive awareness, one’s gut feeling. It can be revealing of places, circumstances and people, and not in ways we necessarily understand or control, as is the case with the role pheromone’s may play in libidinal attraction, and the way scent-masking agents such as those in these new works masks and cloak’s human presence to trap and kill.

 

Additionally presented are three wall-based sculptures, which support the three central works. The works will be comprised of round glass flasks sitting atop aerosol canisters held on the wall by clamps: the contents of the aerosol cans having been emptied into the flasks. I see these as making a meaningful addition to the booth, in that they will both lead the viewer into the back of the booth — this might prove important in terms of drawing people to view the main floor-based sculptural works in the round — whilst allowing the artist to open up for the viewer the material dispensed and experienced in the floor-based works in another, visually accessible way. They operate like diagrams to tell us something more about these fragrances used for trans-species miscommunication.

 

Each work uses a different hunting fragrance: apple, corn and acorn. The floor-based central works use cloaking fragrances.

Dane Mitchell ©  2020