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Scent As Documentation

“Wow Tree” Scent documenting Lady Kitt’s artist residency at DISCONSORTIA (disabled artist led consortium), Stockton, UK February 2020



“legacy” is a word I strongly dislike. “documentation” is a term and a

practice I find complex and challenging. Who is legacy for? What does

documentation capture or communicated? Are the methods used

balanced, ethical, accessible?

In a socially engaged art context, often legacy and documentation are

presented as being for “The Community” / participants/ local people/

project partners. But are they? Who do they serve?

Most often my documentation serves me. I use it to show… what? Show off, mostly. Show off to organisations I want to work with. Show off, usually online, in order to be commissioned to do more stuff (which will also need documenting).

I’ve been getting increasingly uncomfortable about this. About the lack of (or, even, dis) service this does to anyone else involved in a project. Anyone else wanting to engage in a trace of a project. My documentation focuses on word-based information. On visual information. Engaging with words and looking at stuff are things I like to do a lot. But they don’t work for everyone. I’m not going to stop doing that documentation, as I said, it serves me. But I have been exploring additional ways of creating and capturing traces of projects.

This scent is one. It’s the smell of the mapping workshop I ran at DISCONSORTIA, at ARC in Stockton on Friday Feb. 7th, 2020, between 3-4.30pm.

You can look at the picture of it. You can read the descriptions of it from people who’ve experienced it. You can make it at home from the recipe below. If you want, you can email me and come round my house to smell it.



3 parts rose oil

1 part tee tree oil

2 parts strong black coffee

Dash of pine disinfectant


“Pleasant, but in an unsettling way”


“Smells like my nan”

“I don’t have a sense of smell. The bottle’s a nice colour”

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