PDIV – |2 the infra-ordinary

” SMELL. “


Heng Tong  x  Hong Sheng

As we went through the thought-provoking reading ‘The Infra-Ordinary’ by Georges Perec,  one paragraph really resonated between Hong Sheng and me, of which is:

” To question the habitual. But that’s just it, we’re habituated to it. We don’t question it, it doesn’t question us, it doesn’t seem to pose a problem, we live it without thinking, as if it carried within it neither question nor answers, as if it weren’t the bearer of any information. This is not longer even conditioning, it’s anaesthesia. 

As both Hong Sheng and I started questioning and revisiting the idea of the ‘Infra-Ordinary’ in our everyday-experience within the NTU campus, we came across the idea of smell

Smell is a sensory agent that kicks in within one, as soon as one begets in a new environment. Smell, in that sense, denotes any particular environment. Yet, it is also the sense that acclimatises within one the fastest. Picture yourself entering a somewhat foul-smelling room, and having to stay inside the room for an hour. You would realise that somewhere within the hour, somehow you stopped smelling that strange foul-smell. Being in that vicinity has acclimatised your sense of smell. We found this to be particularly interesting.

Therefore, we decided to use smell as the catalysis of our sculpture. The aim of the sculpture is to amplify smell. We took inspiration from the pollens of flower scents and created an abstract form, with multiple holes where the scent will resonate with the surrounding. By enlarging the scale of the sculpture, a physical form of ‘smell’ is emulated. 

*Unfortunately, the smell cannot be replicated in this post; or any blog post for that matter. 

As we developed upon the concept, we created 2 sculptures. One which a fragrance scent; and another with cigarette-filled foul-scent. While placing the sculptures beside one another, our peers pointed to us that it reminds them of the pair of lungs, which is a chance discovery.

All in all, ‘smell’ is an interesting starting point and we will look to develop the idea.