Straddling the disciplines of art and science, Sissel Tolaas has travelled the globe collecting over 7,000 different smells, which she stores in her Berlin research laboratory. Along the way she has made cheese from the bacteria in David Beckham’s football boots, simulated the sweaty smell of fear, and recreated the scent of space as a training aid for NASA astronauts. Having avoided deodorant her entire life, Tolaas is on a quest to educate “the smell-blinded” by separating odours from visual stimulus. She has made scents that help people learn biology and has mapped out molecular smellscapes from Amman to Calcutta. When the wind blows, her nose becomes filled with a “symphony of music”, and she dreams of everyone being able to experience the same sensation. Tolaas believes that once we retrain our noses, we will be able to overcome society’s pre-conceptions of what smells good and bad. And if that happens, we’ll all be able to see everything from a new perspective… without even having to open our eyes.
My own concept of ambient music has always been a broad one. It touches nearly every genre, yet makes its home in none of them. It revels in ideas and mystery. It's often been the product of cutting-edge technology, yet many of its best moments are deeply human ones. The parallels with science fiction are not hard to find.
While artists abound who enjoy conjuring up astronauts, robots, space battles and creatures from another world, few are able to achieve the striking balance that makes the extraterrestrial imagery of Mario Martinez, better known simply as Mars-1, so compelling. Born of the skateboard and graffiti cultures of his Californian surroundings, and even more so by the trippy European Comics of Moebius and the pseudo-organic tech of latter-day anime, his paintings, sculptures, prints and toy designs evocatively convey the contents of an unbridled imagination. At the same time, his respect for scientific accuracy-even when pondering the far-flung future or the specifics of spacey species we (or most of us, anyway) have yet to encounter-invest his work with a vivid authenticity. This vintage HEAD interview presents a very organic and down-to-earth vibe of an artist whose journey was then at an early stage.
The Martian invaders charged from the spaceship. They kept coming as Sam Scott sprayed their green brains over the city streets. They ran towards him, shooting ray guns in his general direction. He killed them by the dozen. Sam swapped out a plasma rifle for the rocket launcher. Another battleship landed, spewing out more creatures. He fired, sending the dirty bug creatures through the air. He laughed hard as they exploded. One missile after another he launched until there was nothing but a burnt-out wasteland.
In The Perfect 46, genetic engineers match couples by their genome to create perfect babies. Whit Hertford plays the CEO of The Perfect 46, Jesse Darden, who wants people to choose their partners logically rather than falling in love. Darden believes genetically compatible couples will create babies resistant to disease. Society lashes out against The Perfect 46, leading to a home invasion of Darden's residence.