playing with perfume | speculating on studio spaces | investigating creative processes

Confessions of the Thirteenth Star Sign

Somewhere within the administrative and organisational standpoints of conceiving and curating The Court of Love, I managed to create my own work, Zodiac Man:

Zodiac Man is a speculative range of fragrances that each represent signs of the zodiac. It references and exposes the historical connections fragrance has with medicine. Indeed, in a bid to re-establish such connections, each bottle is priced at £8.40 – the current price of an NHS prescription.

A narrative exists within this piece, that suggests the body’s equilibrium – and therefore personal health and wellbeing – can be retained by acquainting yourself with the scent your lover’s star sign. If you don’t have a lover, the scent of Ophiuchus – an historically recognised 13th Star Sign – acts as a facsimile.

However, prolonged acquaintance with the piece may reveal several falsehoods. Chief among them is the fact that Ophiuchus is actually a placebo – it doesn’t contain any of the fragrance oils stated and is in fact just a bottle of scentless sweet almond oil. This may assume that the components of love cannot be meaningfully replicated, and that such a placebo must be prescribed for the psychological benefit of those without love in their lives in order to assume health and wellbeing.

Of course, such a standpoint will differ depending on one’s initial preconception of love and the notion of astrology. After all, the value of each fragrance is not decided by its components, but by the significance we place on it. And in the context of this exhibition, Zodiac Man may reveal an audience’s perception of love, how the implications of love apply to experiences, how relationships are connected to health and how the craft of perfumery has capacity for narrative.

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