NJ Turnpike

RAD, Rodolphe el-Khoury, Christos Marcopoulos, Carol Moukheiber

Posted on Thursday, June 19th, 2014 at 9:43 am

NJ Turnpike, is a spatial olfactory experience.

While working with moss on the DropMoss project, we discovered that the distinctive scent released after watering is due to a chemical known as Geosmin (derived from Greek: earth smell). Following a rainfall, the chemical is released by Actinobacteria, “friendly bacteria” found in the soil, and possibly in moss. Actinobacteria have been associated with “Gardener’s high” a euphoric state of mind; the result of prolonged exposure. Scientists are testing its potential as a mild antidepressant. Geosmin is the basenote for the perfume NJ Turnpike, the scent produced for the exhibition An Olfactory Archive: 1738-1969, curated by David Gissen with Irene Cheng and held at the California College of the Arts. The scent provokes, through an olfactory experience, a spatial collapse of sky to earth and country to city.

The scent combines the smell of ozone, concrete, and geosmin to collapse a rainstorm into a single moment. Bring country to city, and join pavement with sky.

Geosmin is an organic compound with a distinct earthy flavor and aroma, and is responsible for the earthy taste of beets that occurs in the air when rain falls after a dry spell of weather or when soil is disturbed. Chemically, it is a bicyclic alcohol with formula C12H22O, a derivative of decalin.


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