Raewyn Turner & Brian Harris 2016

Unscented flowers rotate above a vase which holds a sensor and the data from the sensor is turned into piano notes.

As the  flowers rotate over the vase a computer fan draws their scent past a ceramic bead sensor and a microprocessor measures a voltage dependent on the scent concentration and type. The notes are synthesized in piano voice.  Within the apparatus :   A tiny computer fan draws the scent past a MQ7 Carbon Monoxide sensor ( the original apparatus used 3 ceramic bead sensors) and  a microprocessor measures sensor voltage dependent on the scent concentration and type  and chooses a row in a matrix of notes. In each the row are the notes that can be played in that key.  Each column represents a note in that scale.    Notes are played with varying arpeggiation and interval followed by other notes in random order from the same row, also arpeggiated. The cycle starts again after a variable interval delay with a row chosen depending on the sensor voltage change. The notes are synthesized in piano voice and then play on small speakers. The sound changes as the flowers wilt and die. 

Synopsis: The political and cultural interests of the 1700’s that sent out explorers to collect exotic and rare botanical specimens also created an aesthetic of beauty that embodied the precarious balance of life; one tilt out of balance, one degree of heat, one minute and its gone. We're exploring the fragrance of contemporary existence, illusion, and sense-making in a largely visual culture. We’re interested in subliminal odours, airborne particles that affect minds and emotions.  It is in the auditory, visual and olfactory signals outside the human bandwidth where important information is relayed. These unconscious signals are contemporary cyphers that can affect our mood and behaviour, the ways  we interact, love and reflect on ourselves and society.

The work is in several forms: a kinetic installation with fresh flowers, a video, and a video still image print.
The flowers are past their use-by date and are odourless. As an installation the flowers will last from 3 to 7 days and will eventually droop, petals and flowers may fall.

Many thanks to Urban Flowers for providing boxes of beautiful cut flowers and Eddie Rayner for mixing the sound

Fallible Video Still : 4 x Inkjet prints  600mm x 1060mm Limited editions of 20

Fallible was exhibited :

2016 1st Synesthesia Art Exhibition and Forum in China   Beijing, Xu Zhou, Hang Zhou and Guang Zhou

The VIVIAN Gallery 'Not Just Flowers' exhibition 2017, New Zealand

 Teknesyn Exhibition at the V International Congress Synesthesia Science and Art 2015 Spain

Fallible exhibited in Teknesyn 2015, Synaesthetic artists work on synaesthesia (Curator Timothy B Layden, Spain.  https://vimeo.com/134685887    

Fallible exhibited in Teknesyn 2015, Synaesthetic artists work on synaesthesia (Curator Timothy B Layden, Spain. https://vimeo.com/134685887


Raewyn Turner & Brian Harris combine art, engineering, science research and their skills developed over years of practice in theatre, the film industry, robotics, interactive software, video, olfactory, art installations and performances. They engage simple elements with engineering to create experiential art, utilising everyday objects reinterpreted with robotics, electronics and microprocessors which Brian develops for cameras in the film industry, along with Raewyn's olfactory research, live performance and art practice.

 They’ve been collaborating since 2010 creating experiments around olfactory perception.  In their installations they invite the audience to sample, taste, smell, participate. They set out an experience, a delivery system, a cross-sensory encounter for the audience. The arena of synthetic smell inspired Turner and Harris to explore the future scope of olfactory sensing as it relates to sense making in a largely visual culture. According to Stevenson the perception of stress-related chemosignals significantly alters the perception of visual social signals in humans. Odours that can’t be detected may also be associated with sub-auditory and visual material that is beyond the human bandwidth.  It is on these unconscious signals and band - widths that important information is relayed. There are several difficulties in working with smell as a medium. Not only is it uncontainable but, unlike the ears and eyes, it can’t easily be blocked out. The lack of instruments for the capture of smells from nature and for the controlled release of olfactory material promoted investigation and they created two prototype electronic devices for sensing and expressing smell.