Slow Smoke, Slow Soap, 2013–'15
A trio of custom fragranced candles smelling of the kitchen place & Olvera St.
Slow Smoke… was an evolving exploration into the powers and possibilities of scent and smelling as collapsers of a private, comfortable, domestic space (the home), with a public, civic, historic space (Olvera St.). Smelling, after all, will force your participation.
…And in that darkened, former storage space adjacent to Mr. Churro, you could stumble in and collide into the thickest wall of molecules emanating gently from three burning, formidably sized, triple-wicked candles. The viewer, forced to aggressively shift into smell-sensitive, embodied participant. (P. 1)
This edition has been scaled for your domestic space. I’ve poured the fragrances into smaller-scaled vessels and by way of match, you may decide when to ignite, pause, and expire the lives of these artworks. And upon completion, these vessels will beg of you to cycle them into your home for regular use, perhaps as a wine cup, an ice-cream bowl or a dish for your sambal olek.
Upon first burn, leave candle lit until the pool of melted wax roughly matches vessel diameter (at least an hour). If wax remains after candle expiration, throw the vessel into the freezer for a few hours to then easily scrape away the remaining bits. Use soap and water to clean before daily domestic use. (P. 2)
…finally, within the small lofted gallery at the new home of this project’s long-time sponsor, using the last of the fragrance oils to provide one more opportunity to restore and create some scent memories. For this, Janelle has written trios of poems to be read in the warm illumination of the candles they respond to. (P. 3)
PART ONE for Olvera St. — Realized for Originally From Australia, a two-person exhibition with Jonathan Takahashi at E—6 Olvera St. This show included bi-lingual PR materials and printed matter and was installed entirely one foot off the ground. Translation by Kellie Kemp. Risograph printing by Devon Tsuno/Concrete Walls. Exhibition stewarded by the Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles, CA — PDF (takeaway).
PART TWO for the Home — A limited edition of twenty candle trios poured into hand-thrown earthenware vessels. Ceramics by David Whitaker.
PART THREE for Chinatown — The very last of the scented candles, poured into 108 unfired pinch pots. My friend and poet, Janelle, wrote a trio of poems, one for each fragrance. The poems, handwritten and hand-bound into small books, were read among the forceful scents in that sauna of a room. Poetry by Janelle DolRayne.