Sunday, May 17, 2015

Continued Research with Sense of Smell

This blog post is considering the sense of smell from my research of Fluxus objects. Referring back to my January 21, 2015, Recent Reading Blog Post, I was researching the Fluxkits as a personal inquiry of the senses. In focusing on the sense of smell as one of my collection themes, I have been doing research on the Smell Chess, Liquids created by Fluxus artist, Takako Saito. I pursued my research beyond a text-based approach; even though the outcome had minimal results the experience led me back to my foundations with material culture.
            As part of my research, I requested a viewing of the Smell Chess, Liquids at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Department of Prints and Drawings Collection in New York City USA. In my request, I stated why it was necessary to view the object in person. I introduced the Smell Collection theme and how I was employing the characteristics of video to facilitate recollections associated with specific aromas to form this specific collection. In addition to how objects from the Fluxus Movement offered the opportunity for participants to have a multisensory experience. My opportunity to observe the Smell Chess, Liquids offered the ability to physically view an artwork from the 1960's, which is meant to be experienced in person and use the experience as a reference within an art historical context for my research pertaining to digital media and the human senses. I did also state that I had no intentions for the Smell Chess, Liquids to be included in the imagery/ video for my collection project, so it would be clear it was for art-based research purposes.
            In my email correspondence with the MoMA staff from the Prints and Drawings Collection the Smell Chess, Liquids was unfortunately unable to be viewed, because it was stored off-site. The MoMA staff did offer to provide me with additional information about the object. Through our email exchange, I was provided with instructions from the Sound Chess Set made for John Cage by Takako Saito, but there was no documentation found about playing the Smell Chess, Liquids within the collection archive. This is the MoMAlink to the Smell Chess, Liquids there are two images two view the object with.
            I was aware in sending my request that I would have no opportunity to touch the glass scent bottles that are the chess pieces. The Smell Chess, Liquids has become part of a museum collection and the object has gone through a transition from the original concept of personal engagement with the object to being archived with the intention of preservation. In this two or three week process I feel that I have come full cycle with my reading from Hannah Higgins, Fluxus Experience. In her chapter, Information and Experience, she has details of how the act of sniffing was incorporated with the ritualized movement of the game of chess.  This supplements the idea of text being significant to ephemeral or participatory-based projects for future research needs. 

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