Your Brain Has No Smell
2017/2019, Audio installation, 35 min.
Presented in different formats, among which an outside installation including a swivel stool and headphones + 360° view
Your Brain Has No Smell is an audio installation in the form of a monologue during which a brain is dissected. While taking it apart the narrator speaks in a graphic way about the textures, colours, sounds, weight and smell. She makes the listener construct an almost sculptural image of this hidden body part. At the same time the constructed image becomes that of the listener’s own brain, as the narrator strategically switches between speaking in the third person and the second person. These switches also make it possible to project hypothetical senses on it that are generally thought of as beyond human, such as the ability to sense underground waters. This creates space to leave the exclusive human perspective; thinking about the brain is extended to the larger environment. The script deliberately includes language that refers to the natural environment, with a specific focus on the currents of fluids. The latter is amplified by the soundscape that is constructed from field recordings of rivers and lakes. These water sounds, together with the monologue that borrows from relaxation techniques, aims to create a trance like rhythm that guides the listener through the landscape of the brain.
The script for the monologue is based on conversations with Cindy Cleypool, Lecturer of (neuro) anatomy at Utrecht University.
This work was created over a longer period of time and during two residencies, at NAIRS contemprary art centre (CH) and at I-Park (USA). The work was first exhibited at I-Park’s 6th International Site-Responsive Art Biennial in 2017 as an outside audio-installation. It was also part of Helicotrema, festival for recorded audio works, in Venice (IT) and is included in Get Rid of Yourself (Ancora ancora ancora), an exhibition by curator Lucrezia Calabrò Visconti at Fondazione Baruchello (Rome, 2019).
Concept and script: Erica van Loon
Voice: Emi Kodama
Sound design, mixing and mastering: Malu Peeters
Editing script: Heleen van Loon, Rosie Heinrich
Special thanks to: Cindy Cleypool, I-Park Foundation, NAIRS contemporary art centre, Alexander Hanson
1 of 3 locations at I-Park’s 6th International Site-Responsive Art Biennial, CT, USA /
Excerpt of script and 360° installation view at I-Park