Public debut of inkblot_ 2, Nalls’ Aromatic Amuse-Bouche and Interactive Artwork

Inkblot_2, an Aromatic Experiential Edible by SMARTlab PhD graduate, artist Gayil Nalls, the second in the new olfactory inkblot series, will make its public debut in an installation entitled Take One and Take Part, on view in the group exhibition Scents & Medical Sensibilities at the Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts Gallery, 1632 U Street, NW, Washington, DC, from March 3-May 1, 2010. The opening reception will be held Thursday, March 11th, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

Inkblot_2 is an intimate experience that is large in its dimensions of scent, taste and texture; even the aesthetics of the food notes work in the experience evolution as a harmonic olfactory understanding. The edible seeks of the tastant an instinctual response, then his or her interpretation via the online survey as a way to begin to uncover unconscious information on olfaction, memory and emotion. The concept for the work draws on Paul MacLean’s triune brain theory that posits that each of the three parts of the evolutionary brain has a unique function and essential needs.

The olfactory inkblot series comprises limited production, interactive experiential works that encourage the user to explore olfactory perception and his or her psychophysical response to natural smells. Taking its name from the Rorschach inkblot tests, first used in the early 1920s for psychoanalytic purposes, the olfactory inkblot series draws attention to one’s unique response to scent perception and memory.

Aromas accrue meaning for individuals from the time they are in the womb. Such olfactory coding and triggering are vital to our sense of taste, the largest part of which is derived from the faculty of smell. The first artwork in the olfactory inkblot series, inkblot_1, released in December 2009, explores the sustained responses of participants to therapeutic natural aromas as they unfolded over time through the medium of a limited edition organic candle. With inkblot_2, the artist continues to entice people to explore their identities through olfaction and taste cognition.

The inkblot_2 candy-like amuses-bouche are made with multiple botanical plant essences, each with its own distinguishing physical and chemical qualities that define its character and promote healing. These entities also have the potential to unlock specific scent memories, offering a highly-textured and uniquely personal experience.

Through inkbot_2, Nalls seeks to re-define sensorial impressions, memories and identity as aesthetic events by creating olfactory and gustatory “sculptures” embodied within individual participants. Participants complete the artwork by sharing their personal experiences and responses, transferring the individual perception of mouth and nose to a subjectively charged public space.

In the Take One and Take Part installation, gallery visitors can select and experience one of the individually wrapped candy-like edibles. Tastants are then asked to describe their sensations, feelings, emotions, associations and general thoughts about their sense of smell – anonymously if they like – via the accompanying inkblot_2 survey online at, where the olfactory inkblots can also be purchased.

SMS texting enables the audience of the inkblot series increased interaction opportunities. Experiencers can complete the surveys from their cell phones by texting (240) 242-7918 to receive the URL connections. The content of the message should read Site, Survey 1 or Survey 2.

To see inkblot_2 being made visit:

More read on The Science of Scent in Everyday Life Avery Gilbert, author of What the Nose Knows wrote about inkblot_2 at First Nerve. To visit the post at his blog go to:

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