Friday, August 19, 2011

Six Scents Parfums: An Installation at the Elements Showcase

On the first day of the Elements Showcase, upstairs on the sixth floor was a bit more quiet. Elements partnered with Six Scents Parfums to create an installation entitled, Transition: Our Avoidable Passage from Life to Death. The actual installation was tucked away behind a wall in the corner, and I liked that I had to search a bit to find it. Once inside, it was considerably darker than the well lit and designed Showcase floor. The wood paneled walls had a womb-like feel to them, making me want to take a closer look. Considering I was the only one there, I was able to take my time.

In the center of the installation were four pedestals that were topped with smoked glass plates. The plates each had a thin and narrow opening that allowed a glowing mist of perfume to steadily stream upward. Sometimes the mist was visible and other times it disappeared, depending on how the light hit it. Below each of the four narrow openings were these words:  No. 1:  Your Conception:  Sperm; No. 2:  Your Infancy: Baby Powder; No. 3: Your Adulthood:  Leather; No. 4: Your  Death: Frankincense. 

On the second and last day of the Showcase, after a well represented forum of industry folk hosted by Elements and W Magazine, I rushed back up to get another look and smell of the installation. This time I was not alone, there was a man patiently dropping the juice into the first two pedestals. I entered to a find Conception and Infancy with their lids off. He said it was ok if I went straight to Death, which I did. 

Your Death: Frankincense
Standing alone (sort of) in front of death I looked up to see these words facing me on the wall:  The END.  As I stood there, I realized that there was an incredible lightness and transcendence flowing up through the mist and into my nostrils. This is not the Frankincense of my childhood that in church made my eyes tear and my throat tighten. Yes, the incense was front and center but somehow sweeter and lifted and made to be ever so friendly and fresh.  With the hum of the event behind me and the young man lovingly dropping the juice into Conception I suddenly realized I was hearing the ambient sound of church bells in the distance, perfectly timed for The END, but this "end" was a happy death complete with a resurrection. 

While exiting, I remarked how beautiful the Frankincense was to the man, he said, "you can smell it downstairs." It was then that I realized that the entire installation, Conception through Death was a deconstruction of perfume No. 4, Ascent and part of Six Scents Series Three, a collaboration between perfumer, Christophe Raynaud and fashion designer, Rad Hourani. Bravo.

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