Gayil Nalls
Olfactory Art → Olfactory Inkblot_1 and _2

Inkblot_ 2
Inkblot Series Installation
March 3 - May 1, 2010
Scents and Medical Sensibilities
Smith Farm Healing Center Gallery
Washington, DC

Inkblot_2, an Aromatic Experiential Edible, made its Washington debut in the exhibition Scents & Medical Sensibilities at the Smith Farm Center for Healing and the Arts Gallery, 1632 U Street, NW, Washington, DC, March 3-May 1, 2010, where gallery visitors selected and experienced one of the individually wrapped edibles. Tastants then describe the sensations, feelings, and emotions that the edibles trigger – anonymously if preferred – via the accompanying inkblot_2 survey.

Surveys for both inkblot_1 and inkblot_2 can be completed online at, and on mobiles by texting (240) 242-7918 to receive the URL connections, or by calling 240-242-7916 to the receive links.

The candy-like amuse-bouche of inkblot_2 is made of multiple botanical plant essences, each having its own distinguishing physical and chemical qualities that define its character and promote healing. These entities also have the potential to unlock scent memories, offering a highly textured and uniquely personal experience.

Inkblot_2 is the second artwork in the olfactory inkblot series. The first, inkblot_1, also in the exhibition, exploring sustained olfactory attention, was released in December 2009. The series comprises limited production, interactive works with evocative and prompting olfactory compositions (the inkblot), which encourage the user to examine his or her psychophysical response to natural smells. Taking its name from the visual Rorschach inkblot tests, first used in the early 1920s for psychoanalytic purposes, the olfactory inkblot series draws attention to one’s unique response to scent perception and memory.

Aromas accrue meaning for individuals from the time they are in the womb. Such olfactory coding and triggering are vital to our sense of taste, the largest part of which is derived from the faculty of smell. With inkblot_2, the artist continues to entice people to explore their inner lives and identities through olfaction and taste cognition.

Through inkblot_2, Nalls seeks to re-define sensorial impressions, inner emotional landscapes, memories and identity as aesthetic events by creating olfactory and gustatory "sculptures" embodied within individual participants. The artwork is completed when participants share their personal experiences and responses, transferring the personal perception of mouth and nose to a subjectively charged public space.

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