As the founder and director of The Institute for Art and Olfaction (IAO) in Los Angeles, Saskia Wilson-Brown engages the public in the science and artistry of perfumery. Within a field that is undergoing a deep re-examination, the IAO is the first organization devoted to the exploration of perfumery and scent in the context of contemporary art. Since 2012, the organization has worked with artists to create cross-disciplinary projects that challenge and elaborate upon perceptions of scent.
Developed in collaboration with the Pulitzer, Wilson-Brown’s project 24 Hours, 15 Scents started with a question: How might we tell the story of St. Louis through personal narratives and the scents they evoke? This project considers geographic and social boundaries specific to St. Louis, using scent to thread connections across those divides. Commissioned author Eileen G’Sell interviewed fourteen St. Louisans from various neighborhoods and ages about their daily experiences of life in the city associated with scent. Each portrait, including G’Sell’s own self portrait, will be printed by The Firecracker Press and then uniquely scented by Wilson-Brown in response to the personal narratives.
The project will culminate in a multi-sensory release party at the Pulitzer on Saturday, June 25th, where the prints will be debuted and given for free to visitors. Wilson-Brown will speak about the science and aesthetics of scent, and G’Sell will give a reading of select passages.