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Scented Thoughts #1 – Scent doesn’t equal memory

‘Scented Thoughts’ are blog posts that seek to document thought processes towards the principles of scent and how scent exists in our everyday experiences. These thoughts will inform ‘Perfume as Practice’ – My residency at Bank Street Arts.

Scent can’t be uniquely about memory because memory is evoked by all the senses. Walking past a swimming pool in Sheffield last night, my nose was bombarded by the undeniable mixture of light chemicals combined with hot air. This emitted a unique smell synonymous with learning how to swim, and as such, it transported me back to childhood.

However, the smell emitted by swimming pools isn’t the only thing synonymous with learning how to swim. The raised knuckles against my feet on the tiles around swimming pools evoke similar memoires. As does the combined sound of a whistle and splashing water. Seeing floats and arm bands instantly places you within the realms of your childhood self who is ill-at-ease in the water, whilst the accidental mouthful of pool water can resonate with your early swimming struggles.

As a simple study, my swimming pool experience provides a reasoned and informed argument for the dismissal of the 5 senses. All the senses are ignited when you associate your experiences with your memories, as you experience the world with all senses in an all-encompassing manner. Therefore, I hypothesise that art needs to be created in a way which acknowledges every sense. That way, art more intrinsically linked to how we exist in the world will be achieved.


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