Gwenn-Aël Lynn presents “Audiolfactory Creolization”
The International Symposium on Electronic Art (ISEA) 2014 is a prestigious international exhibition and conference on Electronic Art.
It is a platform for recent research into media art, interdisciplinary practice, and art/science collaborations. ISEA brings current media art practice into contact with broader social, cultural, creative and scientific disciplines and promotes dialogue and exchange across these sectors.
ISEA is one of the world’s most important media arts events for the interdisciplinary discussion and exhibition of creative productions that apply new technologies in interactive and digital media.
The 20th edition will be held in Dubai from the 30th October until the 8th of November 2014 at Zayed University in Dubai and it embodies a unique opportunity to connect audiences and artists from the Middle-East with the international electronic art community.
The new dedicated theme of the ISEA 2014 conference is based on the location and the sense of belonging. Thus, it aims at promoting the importance of public space and the interrelationship of art, technology, design and the city.
The Institut français is proud to take part to this well-known event presenting the avant-gardist Franco-American artist, Gwenn Aël-Lynn, who realised a fascinating project based on the concept of creolization. Indeed, his artwork, “Audiolfactory Creolization”, is an interactive installation which combines sounds with smells to reveal the complexity of creolized identities in Chicago. The artwork will be displayed at the American university of Dubai (AUD).
“Audiolfactory Creolization” (2013″), Gwenn-Aël Lynn
This piece was created over the past four years and includes several collaborations with perfumers, musicians/sound engineers and interviewees. Participants who self- identified as ‘hybrid’ (cultural, gender, etc.), namely who have a mixed experience, were interviewed about their own definition of hybridity and were asked to relate their life experience to scents. These constitute the olfactory component of this work. The scents are numerous: Pressurized Air, Tibetan Incense, Pine Tree, Tree of Heaven, Fresh Cut Grass, Soil, Chinese Incense and Moth Balls, Chai, Rum, Tar, Leather.
In addition, he collaborated with sound artists to create audio files that would assist the visitor in recognizing and understanding the fragrances and which also attempt at expressing “creolization.”
Thus sounds and smells converge to propose a fragmentary experience of creolization in Chicago. There are five audio tracks associated to each scents, so there is a total of 55 audio tracks (11 X 5). Each time a visitor activates one of the scent diffusers, one of these five tracks is randomly chosen. Hence it ensures a rich and diverse aural experience. This interactive installation is fully enshrined in the thematic of the symposium firstly through the resort to a ground-breaking digital technique but also through the central subject related to the creolization or the intermix, which brings into question the notion of place and thereby the notion of location and sense of belonging.
“Audiolfactory Creolization” (2013″), Gwenn-Aël Lynn
Words from the artist:
“Audiolfactory Creolization” is an interactive installation which combines sounds with smells to reveal the complexity of creolized identities in Chicago. I started this project in 2009 by engaging in conversations with community members who shared a “mixed” experience: mixed race, mixed culture, transgender, bilingual or trilingual, and especially people who, through personal experience, have come up with their own definition of hybridity. I asked them to relate their experience to scents. These constitute the olfactory component of this work.
In addition, I collaborated with sound artists to create audio files that would supplement the scents, and would thus assist the visitor in recognizing and understanding the fragrances. The sonic structure of each audio file also attempts at expressing “creolization.” Thus sounds and smells converge to propose a fragmentary experience of creolization. There are five audio tracks associated to each scents, so there is a total of 55 audio tracks (11 X 5). Each time a visitor activates one of the scent diffusers, one of these five tracks is randomly chosen by Pure Data from its pool of five. Hence it ensures a rich and diverse aural experience, while managing the flow of information, should the visitor decide to linger. This project draws inspiration from the work of the Antillean poet Edouard Glissant, and his concept of Tout-Monde and also from the theories of François Laplantine and Alexis Nouss.
scents: Christophe Laudamiel and Michel Roudnitska.
Sound engineering: Benjamin F. Carney
audio tracks: Alejandro Acierto, Christophe Gilmore AKA FluiD, Rebecca Pavlatos, Travis.
Adrienne Dawes, Kelsang Drago, Amanda Gutierrez, Tanzin Jemyang, K-Joe, Shalaka Kulkarni, Diego Leclery, Luis Nasser, Evan Plummer, J. Frank Santana, Hui-Min Tsen, Dion Walton.
Olfactory Workshop participants:
Sebastian Alvarez, Evan Plummer, Samantha Hill.
Noses and ears donors:
Sebastian Alvarez, James Britt Jr., César Condé, Samantha Hill, Nadia Hotait, Paul Hopkin, Bryant Koger, James Earl Lynn, Shirin Mozaffari, Evan Plummer, Patrick “Q” Quilao, J. Frank Santana, Eric Winfield.
With special thanks to my father for supporting this project all along in many ways; Gabriel Akagawa for pointing me towards hariko (japanese paper mache technique).
“Audiolfactory Creolization” (2013″) Interactive sound and smell installation, hariko, computer vision, built with Processing and Pure Data (open source software).
Photograph: Sarah Baransky
Variable dimension (minimum surface: 1000 square feet, ideal height: 12 feet)
This project is partially supported by a Community Arts Assistance Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council.
Institut français warmly thanks all of its sponsors and partners for their involvement in this project: