The two scents I picked were cigarette smoke and durian. One might think, Fendi must like durians, well …
you’d be wrong.
My first order of business was mind-mapping out how each smell had a memory attached to it, and I decided smoke was a pleasant unique to me (though I really am a little 50-50 about positivity in this) and durian was also another unique smell to me (cause apparently everyone loves it). I decided to explore the moment, what imagery comes to mind and what emotions and thoughts I have. Once I have it mapped out, I explored about how to show it visually, but before I do that – I had to understand how plastic reacts to various techniques.
I snipped thorns from green colored bottles – sprite and green tea and used a heat gun to distort them into curled spiked ends. It was interesting experiementing with the heat gun and various thickness of plastics to see how they react to heat. The thinner plastics would curl up quickly like mimosa leaves whilst the thicker plastics would become malleable whilst warm.
After understanding and getting the hang of how plastics react to heat, I put it onto a concept.
The bad smell is the smell of durians. The smell of durians repulses me. I abhor it, to many questions of ‘why’ and ‘how could you’s in the background. My body just somehow rejects it – there was once my dad peer/parental pressured me into eating it with a bunch of people – because how can you say you don’t like it if you’ve never tried it. My body somehow… decided to reject it.
I achieved this by collaging the various strips from the green bottles and collaging them into a spikey, dangerous, repulsive shape. On first glance, it looks like a durian, however on closer inspection the curled spikey element represents the stinging and painful smell of durians that radiate from the fruit itself. Green, firstly, is the color of durian, and secondly, it also evokes a sense of grossness and repulsiveness. Also interesting fact, I really don’t like looking at durians because I think it not only smells but looks gross – so it’s reminiscent of medusa, whom no warrior wants to look at. Yeap.
I like the smell of cigarettes as a non-smoker myself, it’s very strange, but this came to me when my smoker friends came back from smoking and their smell of cigarette smokes reminded me of my dad.
My dad smokes a decent amount. Every time I hugged him, I’d smell it. When he drives to pick me up, he occasionally smokes in the car while waiting (with the windows open of course) and when I come in I’d smell it. Sometimes when I’m having breakfast, he’d smoke after eating. Somehow I’ve associated cigarette to one of the many smells that reminded me of home.
I looked at a friend’s candle for a while to consider how i’d show the idea and appearance of smoke. I used a wire to allow the smoke to hover to create element of levitation and lingering. It also spirals as a metaphor for embracement. Also in using clear plastic, it symbolizes that even though the smell is invisible, the feeling of embrace is there. This is achieved by snipping a clear bottle in a spiral and then using a heat gun to distort the shape into a curvy, wavy, snake-like shape and letting it rest on a metal cable.
All in all, it tells a story about my dad and how smells remind me of him. The overpowering green symbolizes the strong hatred of durians – because in that situation even though my dad smelt vaguely of cigarettes, the smell of durian was overwhelmingly repulsive it drowns out the smell of cigarettes. Yet in a situation of total disgust and regret – there is always a feeling of home from his presence that blossoms out of the situation.
It was definitely different working much more intimately with plastic and pet bottles. The most exciting element of it was the idea that you will not know how the plastic will react to heat exactly, but you can control the technique. Sometimes there are happy accidents and sometimes there are unfortunate ones. I’m quite satisfied with my concept and all, but this was definitely a struggle to achieve.
That night I took my sculpture out and experimented it against light. This is some of the shadows it casted, I think from the top view it casts super interesting shadows!
This is for you, daddy-o.