Synthesizing Scent II: Clement Valla

Synthesizing Scent II: Clement Valla

For the second installment of our Synthesizing Scent series—a collection of artworks presenting complex, visceral interpretations of AIR Eau de Parfum—Providence-based artist Clement Valla created an interactive web application and video extensions that read as a living environment of pixels. Below, Valla describes his work.

For my contribution to the Synthesizing Scent series, my objective was to encapsulate the essence of AIR COMPANY’s environmentally friendly product, AIR Eau de Parfum. I accepted the commission because the fragrance itself is so novel; created by using CO2 and helping the reduction of carbon in the atmosphere, AIR Eau de Parfum acts as a poignant reminder of our innate connection to nature.

When I first smelled the fragrance, I was immediately transported to a serene, light, airy forest understory. The scent evoked a delicate blend of moss, ferns and subtle floral notes, with a gentle whisper of sassafras and other sweet-scented trees. I wanted to recreate this forest ambiance using 3D scanning technology to immerse viewers in a point-filled atmosphere that resonates with the fragrance's aroma. I like the idea of using new technologies to mediate and create a fresh connection between individuals and the natural world, allowing them to perceive their surroundings with fresh perspectives.

The artwork manifests as a slowly moving web-based environment composed of shimmering pixels, like points of light animated by a slight breeze through forest leaves. Each point represents the visualization of the raw 3D scan data, collectively weaving a tapestry that reflects the intricate interplay of scents within the forest.

To capture the data, I ventured to various forests in the Rhode Island area to scan the late spring understory. There, I conducted 3D scans of the locations, capturing the essence of the chosen flora to serve as the foundation for this project. The resulting point cloud landscapes are combinations of lush green foliage and delicate white and pink flowers. The viewer is led around the landscape in slow, meditative pace, as if meandering through the forest understory.

The browser-based experience is an endless journey that never repeats, evoking a sense of continuous exploration and discovery.

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