As a continuation from the investigation of smell, we attempted to project the sensory qualities we drew from our chosen smells and turn it into a physical sculpture. In this project, we were tasked to explore the theme of abstract forms and planes using found plastic (without any limitation of our techniques), and produce a sculpture that portrays the two smells interacting with out another.
*However, I made a slight edit on my initial choice of a bad smell and chose yeast instead of train farts. Yeast, to me, has a flat but distinct smell that hints of mould. It is a slow paced and gentle smell that lingers, in other words start off small but loiters as a strong and pungent smell. It incites a sense of nervousness in me.
Before I embarked on my project, I decided to list out a comparison of characteristics that rain and yeast have, allowing me to tell the narrative of the rain and yeast interacting, or opposing for that matter. I found rain to be a distinct and refreshing smell, as if my brain is being massaged. Even though the energy and dynamism of rain is difficult to process in terms of smell, the idea of rain itself reminds me of infinite potential, as if the smell is falling down from the sky in a mass. I would like to incorporate an additional sensory aspect of sound to exaggerate the effects of rain as the sound itself puts me in a calm state of mind- a quality I would like to portray in the sculpture. In comparison, yeast is the polar opposite to the smell of rainwater. Yeast has a flat smell that lingers, but instead of dynamism, it just reminds me of dead mould. It has a distinct smell as well, but starts off weak and strengthens over time.
Using the characteristics I pointed out, I started to brainstorm for an idea of how my sculpture would look like, and here it is.
From there, I proceeded to investigate plastic as a material in terms of malleability and durability, with mediums like heat and applied force to bent it. The photograph shown below is an example of how the heat gun was used to bent the plastic strips I had cut out, bending it into a streamline abstract form. I wanted to achieve the natural form the water has when it drips, as the physical sight of it reminds of rainwater dripping down. It also reiterates the idea of how the smell of rainwater plunges down in a mass and the strip attempts to portray a downwards motion.
Throughout this project, the main medium of holding the sculpture together is hot glue gun. I found that hot glue resembles the visual quality of plastic and is able to camouflage as part of the artwork quite easily. Apart from gluing the work together, I also attempted to create some textural qualities using the glue, forming spheres that hints of droplets and mould.
However, a problem I noticed was that the usage of the hot glue “rainwater” and “mould” is too similar in terms of sizing and texture- This creates a visual confusion. Hence, I played with the idea of quantities, with the yeast having more hot glue “mould”, with the addition of soldered holes to incite the nervousness as mentioned before. With both of the hot glue and soldering techniques used, there is a positive and negative texture created. Positive texture being the lumps created by the hot glue, while negative texture being the holes that audience can feel by touching, shown below.
Through experimentation and attempts to control the volatile hot glue and plastic, I created the final model shown below. As mentioned above, it represents the struggle of rainwater and yeast as two opposing smells. However, shown in the GIF below, the rainwater is stronger and cleansing smell, therefore the yeast is almost weakened and pushed backwards, yet lingering on. The sculpture uses the comparably heavy weight of the “rainwater” to introduce the conversation between the two smells, pushing back and forth using gravity. Ultimately, the flat “yeast” is unable to take the weight due to its weak body of smell. The addition of tendril-like features at random suggests life to the sculpture due to the resemblance to an otherworldly life form.
The recording is of the plastic tendrils of the “rainwater” swirling around, mimicking the droplets hitting the ground during rain.