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Written By Jerri Chou
Jul 6, 2010
When thinking about social change, our senses fill to the brim with blaring news stories, telling films, emotional sounds and striking images--but what does an act of humanity smell like? Artist Anne McClain set out to answer this through a perfumery and art project titled, "Humanity."
Knowing that scent can convey memories and feelings in a uniquely impactful way, McClain set out to create a fragrance around the concept of compassion. She envisioned the fragrance in a public setting, creating a space for communing, contemplation, and reflection.
The creation of a perfume begins with a brief. For Anne's project, that brief is to create a scent based on the experience of an act of humanity. Inspiration for the scent took her to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, to spend one week volunteering with a team of friends at Casa de los Angeles, a daycare center for orphans and children of single working mothers serving over 100 children from 73 families.
Anne then got to work crafting the scent using modern perfumery and aromatherapy techniques (she's a student of the prestigious Grasse Institute of Perfumery). The experience of compassion is now bottled and the final goal of the project is to create a physical space to let the essence of humanity flow.
Inspired by the icon of the sacred heart found in Mexico, collaborator Lance McGregor designed a fountain for the Humanity Project with a glass anatomical heart sitting atop a stone base. The heart will be cast and handcrafted by fellow Brooklyn artist Alan Iwamura. Perfumed water will flow gently and calmly over the heart and cycle back; all of the mechanics for the fountain will be solar powered.
The fountain will be opened this summer 2010 in Brooklyn, NY in conjunction with the New York City Parks Department and the Open Space Alliance for North Brooklyn. During the summer, programs and events will take place at the Humanity fountain where Anne McClain plans to give lectures and workshops on basic perfumery and aromatherapy, teach art classes for children using natural materials from the park, and invite other artists and community members to participate.
This is one scent that's sure to be sweet, and Character Approved.
[Image: Trust Art]
The Character Approved blog celebrates the people, places and things that are making a mark by positively influencing our cultural landscape. They're Character Approved - recipients of USA Network's seal of approval. Join us daily as thought leaders in Art, Food, Music, Technology, Fashion and more discuss the ideas and trends impacting the cultural landscape around us. In addition to this USA Character blog, USA Network honors Characters through Character Approved Awards. These awards pay tribute, to the real characters who are changing the face of American culture. The 2010 honorees are innovators in their field who are influencing our opinions, our style, and our view of the world. They're celebrated by their peers, and their fresh, authentic ideas both suprise and inspire us.