A total of 1 per cent of human DNA is devoted to our sense of smell – more than all the other senses combined – and the scent of actor Bill Murray is a ‘masculine’ combination of chewing gum and ambergris.
These are a couple of the claims made by Darius Pocha, creative director of consultancy Moksha, who has developed the Finish With the Truth project – a four-part tour of smells which aims to evoke Sofia Coppola’s film Lost in Translation.
The project was initially conceived as part of the Media Sandbox initiative in Bristol, which saw designers given the opportunity to work up innovative projects unrestricted by client briefs.
Pocha, who worked with transmedia writer Hazel Grian and technologist Dan Williams, has now honed the Finish With the Truth project down to an installation which creates a ‘scent narrative’ guiding sniffers through scenes of Lost in Translation.
Finish With the Truth comprises four pebble-shaped objects which, when picked up by the user, emit a smell and a spoken passage of text. Each odour relates to a scene from Lost in Translation: a smoky hotel bar, Tokyo street smells, a yatai fish restaurant, and the scent of Bill Murray leaning in to whisper in your ear.
Pocha says, ‘We wanted to develop a smell narrative and it seemed natural to link this to something cinematic. Lost in Translation is a film that’s all about not understanding a culture, so it was appropriate to link this to a sense – smell – that is so underused.’
He adds. ‘Apart from perfumers, no-one is really using scent as a design language – it’s so powerful and so underused, wheras it’s become almost impossible to say anything new visually.’
The Finish with the Truth installation was displayed at the Future Everything festival in Manchester last month and Pocha says he is currently looked at bringing it to London galleries and may plan an installation hooked around a screening of Lost in Translation.