Category Archives: Mnemosyne

Mnemosyne Scent – Group Assignment

For this project, I was lucky enough to have Hannah as my group mate!!! We share many similar interests, one of them being our love for water.



Hannah and I decided the good scent to be the smell of chlorine as we both enjoy being in the waters. Me swimming, and her surfing at Wavehouse. You can refer to my previous Mnemosyne post to read more about my relationship with chlorine!

We started to break down the elements of chlorine, and what we would use to represent them.

We start off with the scent of chlorine. It has a very sterile scent to it and you would often associate it with cleanness. Therefore, we wanted to use a material which was translucent.

Secondly, the smell of chlorine is distinct as the top note pierces your nostrils. This is also accompanied by the pain you feel when you open your eyes underwater and the chlorine stings your eyes. This was why we wanted to have sharp edges in our composition.


In contrast, our bad scent was the smell of rain, especially when it hits pavements and roads which gives off that humid and musty smell. We also associate this smell to bad experiences in our lives.

Back in secondary 2, I broke my arm riding a skateboard. This resulted in my arm being in a cast for about 6 months (sadly, I do not have any photos of it). Every time it rained, the bones in my left arm would ache, causing me distress.

We also started to think of how rain interacts with its surrounding, cascading off buildings and cleaning its impurities, which makes rain murky.


To replicate this feeling, we wanted to have dull/dirty colours to represent rain, as well as a more matte finish for the object representing rain to show a contrast between the smooth surface of acrylic and the gritty feeling of the plastic bottles.


We set out on our project with the idea of a wave form in mind. As we wanted the wave to be translucent, acrylic was the material of choice. I started to search for wave forms made out of glass or acrylic so that we could emulate a similar effect onto our accessory piece.

We also searched for various types of masks and we really liked the look of the mask from phantom of the opera as you could still see the wearer’s face.

The reason why we chose a mask was because how we look like is a large part of our identity, to have a mask covering a part of your face would also mean that the object has great significance to us.

We really liked the idea of a wave sprouting out of the mask to show the dynamism of a wave.



Throughout the process, I will be going into detail on the reasons behind our various decision makings. Let us begin!

Planning how the pieces would fit together. Initially I went with a more flat approach of sticking the pieces by just following the  contours of the mask. However, Hannah pointed out that this would not make the piece dynamic and interesting to look at.

We then went with the approach of having the pieces jut out. To hold them in place, we used blue-tac initially. However, this soon became a problem when more pieces were added. We moved on to masking tape after that and it managed to hold its form much better.

Yay! This was the structure we settled on after trying to fit the pieces of acrylic to form a good composition!

Little did we know, that it was the beginning of our nightmare.

We began to glue the pieces of acrylic together. However, because there were so many individual pieces, it became apparent that this would be a very long process because we had to hold each piece in place till the glue dried (it took forever).

We even went to the extent of using a heat gun to try and speed up the process. However, that didn’t work which is why we went back to using acrylic glue. It also smelled really bad which explains Hannah’s face.

We incorporated composition elements such as the golden ratio to form the wave so as to make it more pleasing to look at. We used white shards to represent goggles as it allows you to see underwater.

We also made some adjustments to the mask by cutting away the forehead segment of it as we realised that the white portion of the mask was distracting and took attention away from the wave.

We also used a heat gun to bend the acrylic tube to fit on Hannah’s shoulder. Unfortunately, we did not take any process shots for this part as Hannah was busy working on the Jig-Saw cutting up the acrylic pieces while I was bending the acrylic tube.

The next step was to create the object which represented rain. This was made using plastic bottle scraps. I cut long strips of plastic bottles and I used the heat gun to get them into a more organic and random shape, resembling the cascading of water.

I used the soldering rod to melt the plastic bottles together instead of using a hot glue gun to stick them together as the glue gun would be too hot and further distort the shape of the plastics.

After joining substantial pieces of acrylic together, we began to paint the plastic with grey and brown to represent impurities found in rain.

All we had left to do was attach all the pieces together and polish the acrylic pieces! In the following compositions, you would be able to see a strip of reflective metal. This is to show the universality of water and how it takes up form as well as the elements in its surrounding, therefore a perfect reflection of its environment.

Initially, it was a wide piece of metal sheet i wanted to use. However, as it was meant to be our Sub Ordinate, I had to trim it down till it was just a thin strip.

Altogether now!

We will be updating our final costume on the day of the final fashion runway! Do stay tuned for that!

Assignment 3 – Mnemosyne Scent


Mnemosyne Scent! What a difficult assignment to pronounce! In this assignment, we are made to think of how certain scents can evoke different memories or emotions in our lives. I depend on my sense of smell greatly as I can tell a person by what scents they have (In the least creepy way possible).

As my mother changes laundry detergent often, as well as body soaps and shampoo, whenever I catch a hint of the scent of an old shower gel or detergent I used to apply, it overwhelms me with nostalgia as I think back to the memories I had during that period of time.

I love smelling wooden furniture as well! (This is the part where I go off topic) I get weird looks from friends when I sniff furniture! Especially if the furniture is oak, teak or rosewood because it provides a very homely and natural feel to it.

Good scent: Chlorine. I love the smell of chlorine because its the first thing I smell before I enter the pool. I used to swim about 3 times a week when I had much more time on my hands. I haven’t been able to find the time to swim recently, which is why i treasure that scent even more so.

The pool envelops me and gives me much needed alone time. The faint sound of pool water crashing into the sides and flowing into the drain, the complete absence of sound when I plunge my head into the water for a stroke. All these play apart in my relation to the scent. Swimming is an intimate sport as you can feel it in so many senses – from its smell, to water caressing across your body, to the taste of chlorine as you expel water from your mouth, the rushing and the silence of water. It never fails to make me happy.

My initial bad scent was the smell of alcohol swabs. This is due to the countless times I’ve been in the hospital for surgeries, broken bones, seeing loved ones, medical check-ups…. most of these experiences are associated with pain, be it physical or emotional. However I decided not to use alcohol swabs as it resembles chlorine in a sense that it cleanses, sterilizes objects. They both have a sharp scent to them which would be difficult to tell them apart when forming my scent sculpture.

Thus, I went ahead with the use of seawater.  In contrast to the water in swimming pools, seawater is murky, uncontrolled, there are so many different scents I would associate seawater to. Being in seawater is unpleasant as it leaves you feeling dirty, it smells incredibly salty, you are uncertain to where your next step or stroke would put you as it is such a chaos in the sea.


Artist References and Inspiration

Future world exhibition at Art Science Museum

I have been to this exhibition several times as they constantly update their installations. I came across this projector display and I really loved the tones of this installation. This installation is set in a room with a panoramic screen projecting an illustrated sea. Beanbags can be found around this area for people to sit and soak in the projection. You can also hear the soft sound of crashing waves in the distance.

I feel like this picture represents the calm I have amidst the chaos that is going on around me, clearly drowning me, which is also an accurate description of how I feel when I’m in the sea.


Es Devlin

One of the most established set designers in the industry – I decided to research on her work, to see how she makes use of the sense of smell to make her work exciting.

She was commissioned by Chanel to release a new line of their perfume. She created an exhibition with different rooms to it. In each room, guests are faced with difficulty navigating through her disorientating maze. However, when they are at the end of the maze, they are treated to the new scent of Chanel’s perfume, as well as a beautiful and vibrant backdrop for guests to associate it with the new scent.

She makes use of the emotions her guests feel to tie it with different scents. Guests will now attribute the scent to the feeling of accomplishment, relief and satisfaction after completing the arduous maze. I want to evoke similar emotions through my model, which is why I felt that her work was compelling.

Process and experimentation 

To begin, I decided to make my model look like the sea. Yes it is a very literal representation of my scent but I wanted to also replicate how I felt with association to the scent.

I used blue trash bags to get the colour of the waves. Interestingly, as you pulled the trash bags, when they are stretched they tend to have a lighter colour. This gave my waves greater tone variation and they would resemble the top of the wave. For the smell of chlorine, I cut up plastic bottles into shards. The sharp edges would represent the stinging of your nose and eyes when you are in the water.

To begin, I had to make wire frames to hold up the structure of the waves in the shape of a ‘t’. I used a thick wire for the main curve, followed by a series of thinner wires to allow the spreading of the ‘wave’.

After forming the frame, I then layered the blue garbage bags over the frame and used heat gun to get the garbage bag to hug the frame for a smoother curve. I made several frames, each varying in length to make sure that they do not look similar to each other, giving variation in my composition.

Next, I attached them to the board to figure out what would make an interesting composition.

After figuring out the composition of the waves, I had to add in the plastic shards into the overall composition. The reason why the shards are transparent is to show a contrast between the purity of sea water and the water from swimming pools.

After a few touch-ups, I came up with my final composition.

I was really pleased at how it turned out as it was able to represent the chaos of how it feels like to be in the sea.

This is how it looks like under dramatic lighting.

However, this could be represented better as pointed out by Cheryl. It would be more interesting and less literal if i had a ‘vortex of water’ sprouting out, with the two scents intertwining each other. This would have created a cleaner composition as well as one that is more dynamic.

“To make a good sculpture, you must first be one with the materials.”

– Joel Lee, 2017, ADM Y1