The Olfactory Art and Science Research Project includes artists and researchers in the field of olfactory art.
As a professional artist I develop interdisciplinary collaborations with scientists resulting in exhibitions and published research. The scientists with whom I have collaborated internationally explore a spectrum of interests including neurobiology, robotics, augmented reality, physics and mathematics, enabling investigation of how we perceive the world around us and through our senses, embracing visual perception, haptics and the olfactory, with the resulting research expressed in the art work I create and through curation and writing.
I am also the Director of the MA Art and Science at University of the Arts London. Since creating this course in 2011 I have worked with artists, scientists, designers, technologists, engineers and graduates whose experience embraces the arts, sciences and humanities, investigating the relationships between art and science and how these might be applied creatively.
I am an aesthetics researcher with roots in French aestheticism, focusing on art and the body. Particularly in recent years, I have been carrying out research and practice examining art concerned with taste and smell.
I began my research by building on M. Merleau-Ponty and H. Bergson’s theories of the body and E. Levinas’ theory of the other. Beginning in 2000, I developed a deep interest in the traditional Japanese art of Kôdô, “the way of the fragrance,” and I have since been practicing it myself. Kôdô is the only traditional art in the world to have elevated fragrance to the level of art, and while it flourished during the 15th century alongside the tea ceremony and flower arrangement, it is a little-known art form, even in Japan.
In 2011, I accepted a post at Kyoto Saga University of Arts, working as a teacher at a site where real artistic practice is constantly taking place. In this position, I have presided over a smell and taste research society and established a research society for teaching staff. Additionally, I launched the Perfume Art Project, allowing students to incorporate fragrance into their art, and I have also facilitated the exchange of fragrance art between students in Japan and France, visiting France several times myself. Both France, which recognizes the artistry of perfume, and Kyoto, the birthplace of the world’s first fragrance art, possess incredible sensibilities when it comes to fragrance. Exchanges between these two countries proved to be an intriguing experiment that highlighted the differences in each country’s attitude toward fragrance. Since 2015, I have participated in such activities as an exhibition coordinator, facilitating successful exchange between Japan and France.
My artwork takes different forms including painting, photography, video and 3D constructions, inspired both by historical art of different cultures and by the development of novel technologies such as LED Saccade light display and Yubi-yomu, the latter being on display in the present exhibition at Forum Kyoto.
In 2016 I participated in the 5th anniversary show at Saturation Point, London, with art work which uses traditional materials – Japanese paper and pigment ground in glue - to explore the idea of a visual rendering of polyphony, a musical form that has inspired me throughout my journey as an artist.
I have worked with scientists who specialise in cognitive science and communication devices, exploring the potential for artistic expression utilising devices derived from research into visual and haptic perception. As part of this collaborative research I have developed a new process, Polyluminous Imaging, incorporating LED Saccade display*. This was presented at The 28th Japanese Psychonomic Society Conference, Tokyo (2009) and exhibited in ‘Intangible Spaces’ at the Aisho Miura Gallery , Tokyo (2010).
Research and production activities, together with many artists, engineers and scientists, link various areas across the work to production, I am promoting expanding the possibilities of art.
2016 EURYDICE (Performance by fragrance, image and sound/KYOTO,LONDON)
2016 REQIEM (Video installation/MATSUMOTO)
2015 FORBIDDEN COLOURS (Video installation / collaboration with Masayuki TOWATA / KYOTO)
2014 a sleep which isn't anyone's（Video installation/KYOTO）
2014 CAPE (Video installation/CHIBA)
2014 IRIS Negev desert (uninstalled Installation / collaboration with Masayuki TOWATA/KYOTO)
2013 SKY/SEA (Sound installation / collaboration with Masayuki TOWATA/KYOTO)
2011 DEAD SEA (Video installation/KYOTO)
2009 Flaneur （VR installation/Data Glass Project/KYOTO）
2009 iris （Sitespecific installation/collaboration with Masayuki TOWATA/KYOTO）
2008 HOMO AUDIENCE (VR installation/Data Glass Project/KYOTO)
2007 bios (Video installation / KYOTO)
2006 Feelcode (VR installation/Data Glass Project/KYOTO)
Through the use of smell, my work questions the relationship between the real and the symbolic. It is an invitation to rediscover the multiple facets of our constructed identities. This olfactory perspective highlights our ambiguities in order to better understand ourselves.
With my olfactory chronicles, I approach art as a short story novelist who is trying to give depth to our existence. I work like scent: by infiltration.
Besides the touch of humour, my work is determined by the impossibility of understanding and representing the complexity of life, lost in the trace of a smell.
Smells force us to further encounter art from a social and contextual perspective, placing it within the here and now.