Howser’s Law

June 22, 2011

Howser’s Law | PS2 | Belfast | 8th-27th August 2011

Howser’s Law : “The primary personality trait of a given subject is directly determined by their reaction to a smell”.

Dr Douglas Howser

This project makes a re-presentation of the scientific research undertaken in the West coast of Ireland by a group of pioneering scientists lead by Dr. Douglas Howser in the mid- 1960s in the field of Olfaction. They discovered a formula which allowed them to determine the predominant personality traits of individuals by their reaction to a certain smell. However their work has never been fully recognized nationally or internationally due to the economic constraints and political agenda of the Irish government at that time. This lack of awareness on the international stage meant that through the passage of time the work of Dr. Howser and his team has been forgotten by history. In addition to this much of the documentation of the groups’ work was lost to a fire in the storage warehouse of the Natural History Museum in the outskirts of Dublin in 1985. In an attempt to redress this balance what is left of their work is being exhibited here along with the chance to take part in the experiment that proves Howser’s Law.

Parfum Maison de Béton

November 8, 2010

The aim of this project was to recreate the smell of the area around Bétonsalon and brand it as perfume from the House of Béton, mimicking the per- fume/fashion houses traditionally linked to Paris.

The area of the 13th district, in which Bétonsalon is located, is an almost completely new area of Paris. It has none of the architectural or romantic ideals for which Paris is known. In this work the artist recreated the smell of the district, by taking various people around the area blind- folded, refocusing their experience through their olfactory sense. Taking a different route each time, three people were guided around the neighborhood by the artist, who noted down what they smelled and where.

A map of the walk each person took was then made detailing where they had been and what they had smelled at different points along their journey. Samples of the things they had smelled were col- lected and placed alongside the maps. A list of the different smells of the area was then compiled prioritizing the odors most frequently/strongly smelled. This was sent to Geza Schoen, a perfumer in Berlin, who had agreed to interpret the information into a perfume. The perfume was displayed alongside the other information that had been gathered, and people were invited to smell it and make their own judgment as to whether or not it matched their experience of the area.

Through this process, the project offered a way to evaluate this part of the 13th district in context with the older more traditional areas of Paris, by using our sense of smell rather than sight and asking, how much of what we perceive of a place is actually based on our preconceptions of it?

Scent of a Layman

March 1, 2010

It’s all in the mind but some people feel out of place in an art gallery or artistic environment, but never fear there is a panacea, something to give you the aroma of an expert and mask the scent of a layman.

Ingredients; (feel free to add anything to the list you think should be included)

Oil paint


Wood shavings



Navel fluff

Super sur fumes



Deep-seated insecurities



Blind ambition


Possible dyslexia

Traumatic childhood

Social incompetence

Following on from the successful Smell Reminiscence Enquiry Lab art in public project, which made a study of memory and smell, requiring the public to delve into their subconscious. This project will instead play with the suggestion that a scent can be sprayed onto a person and make them instantly blend seamlessly into the world of art.

Much as the world of marketing does for cosmetics and perfumes, this project will convince its public that they can in fact change by the simple act of using an innocuous spray.

The Scent of a Layman project will be at the entrance to Temple Bar Gallery, Dublin as part of RE:Public from the 3rd until the 4th of March 2010

The Container leaves

January 22, 2010

Day 10

January 21, 2010

The last vial.

Packing up.

Day 9

January 21, 2010

Day 8

January 19, 2010

Day 7 Open reception

January 19, 2010

Day 7

January 19, 2010

Day 6

January 16, 2010