Thursday, May 1, 2008
What scent evokes
I just started reading Chandler Burr's "The Emperor of Scent". On page 43 I came upon this: ". . .she asked him what he thought of a new fragrance. . .he inhaled it. . .[he said] it was like one of those silks that has two colors to it, depending on how the light strikes it. She reached into her desk and pulled out the brief. . .he read "We want it to smell like the silks that have two colors in them. . ."
I know the mystery of how smells evoke such specific memories and images is not known. Theories abound, and Luca Turin, the subject of the book I quote above, has some ideas about it that are not well excepted by science.
I noted that my description of Narciso Rodriguez's For Her evoked the same imagery as it did for Turin, to a good extent. He says scent is decidedly not subjective. I disagree in this manner: We may discern the same scent and even reach the same evocative conclusion, but that doesn't mean we all "like it". This seems so self-evident that I find it hard to understand how anyone could argue with it.
I do not like the taste of fish, but I presume I am tasting the same thing as everyone else. The main reason I dislike the taste is that I detest the smell. To others, it is heavenly; the scent of the sea and a good meal ahead.
Art Note: Gyotaku Fish Prints