TIME CAPSULE 7:32 AM
“I want to capture the moment of exhaustion after a climax – the sense of space that’s left when
feelings settle,” says artist Katharina Dubbick, whose scent installation, TIMECAPSULE 7:32am in
2019 captured the illusive odour at the end of a long night clubbing. ‘’I wanted to be able to recreate
the feeling I’d had just after a party’s completion. Smells are tied to our memory extremely strongly.
Smelling the installation transports you to this particular moment that I experienced, but will also
stimulate memories of your own.’
The Swedish-German artist created a scent combining the smell of humidity in the air from sweat, saliva, sex, gin and tonic, cigarette smoke, latex, smoke machine, sticky skin and cleaning products.
TIMECAPSULE 7:32am was presented as part of the Pervilion exhibition at the Silver Building, curated by Dorothy Feaver. In an abandoned brewery in London’s Canning Town -- once a destination for illegal raves -- two scent formulations were pumped through diffusers in a disused boiler room. One was identified as ‘latex’, while the other as a more ‘human’ combination of smells.
The steam built up around a cluster of suspended leather body parts -- fragments of an armpit, a torso, nipples, as if glimpsed through a cloud of memory.
“I was also excited by the way visitors’ smells mingled with the installation,” Dubbick considers. “The industrial but almost flowery top note of the latex formula was pervasive -- it awakened a kind of beauty in the old industrial space.”
It wasn’t the first time that she has explored scent through art. Dubbick won the first prize in a competition in collaboration with IFF (International Flavours & Fragrances) at The Royal College of Art (where she completed her MA in knitwear in summer 2019) for her concept Soi-Meme: An Olfactory Self-Portrait, where she worked with Irish perfumer Meabh McCurtin. Together they created the first scent portrait of Katharina herself. To distil her own bodily scent, they built an archive of smell molecules that relate to body odour in order to create olfactory portraits.
“We attract each other through smells, like animals,” she says. “I wanted to enhance our natural odours. Often people mask themselves with commercial fragrances, but our own body odour is unique as our fingerprint.”