Scent Bomb Happy Pit – The Institute for Art and Olfaction

In May 2013 Los Angeles’s curatorial collective Mastodon Mesa invited us to create a site-specific scent installation for LA Weekly’s Artopia, a large outdoor art show and concert in Chinatown.

IAO_SecntBomb2_250x300Due to the public, music-driven and punk rock nature of the event, we decided to create the most celebratory and joyful experience that we could dream up: An opt-in mosh pit of color and scent we dubbed the ‘Scent Bomb Happy Pit’.

About ‘Scent Bomb Happy Pit’

We based our ‘Scent Bomb Happy Pit’ on the happiest public instance of mass chaos we could find: The yearly Holi Celebrations that take place in early spring in Hindu communities around the world.

Working with the Gulaal powders used during Holi, we selected four aromas to match or subvert our color selections: Cinnamon Bark for reds and pinks, Patchouli for purples, Anisic Aldehyde for yellows and Peppermint for blues and greens. We also added a few wild cards, some blended perfumes (we won’t tell which!) and some secret aromamolecules.

Once we had scented the Gulaal, we put a measure of each into 200 little baggies, which we handed out to participants on the night of the event.

The participants were encouraged to find a willing partner or two, and to throw the pigment into the air while dancing around wildly (the better to disperse it!).

IAO_ScentBomb3_250x300The result was that Artopia’s dance floor in Historic Chinatown became an opt-in mosh pit of scent and color, and there were a lot of happy, messy, colorful and scented people running around downtown.

Learn more about LA Weekly’s Artopia here:

And learn more about the great work Mastodon Mesa does here: