SMELL.BYTES T.M. is a digital action
environment with two computer stations and three video panoramic projections on
the wall fed in real time from the web. In SMELL.BYTES T.M., human subjectivity
has been transformed into a lucid database of numbers, and "smell" serial numbers
which are offered to the public as a visual "olfactory" feast of odorless mesmeric
portraits projected on the walls, surrounded by cross breed- sounds and signals.
SMELL.BYTES T.M. ,as in Jenny's previous works, happens in time and explores social
relations and communication, and how private and public space expose a system
in itself. For the last year she has beeng exploring our sense of SMELL, as a
metaphor, for loss, control and surveillance. She uses photography, public actions,
video, and net work technologies in order to investigate the uncontrollable unvironments
of the web, digital actions, conditions of subjectivity, and what form of existential
life creates this new way of communication between computer and humans .The project
has been informed by her research in the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Urban Ethology
in Vienna and her critical response to their recent studies on Facial Beauty,
Attractiveness and Body Odors. Her protagonist Chris.com is based on the novel
Perfume by Patrick Suskind.
In SMELL BYTES T.M. Jenny Marketou creates a protagonist ,Chris.com, a bot, an
intelligent agent, a provocateur, a lurker, a digital cannibal. Chris.com has
no gender nor ethnicity. Chris.com hangs out on CUSEEME video teleconferencing
environments, cyber cafes and chat rooms. Chris.com has a website, with an odor
lab and the world renowned stinky gallery. In addition Chris.com has a FANCLUB
which will be launched on April 8,1999. "Smellbuddies" around the world are invited
to join, only if they donate their own portraits to Chris.com and of course what
happens is a surprise! The scene of the crime is open to the public!
Chris's passion is odors. Chris.com lurks and sniffs live on line under concealment,
for 24 hours, 7 days for a whole year. To satisfy this appetite, Chris.com grabs,
without their knowledge, live participants and downloads them on his odor lab
page. Here Chris.com processes them according to their symmetry, beauty and body
odor, then consumes them as bytes and stores them in a giant menu of arresting
odors and visual glyphs in the permanently refreshing with smellbuddies world
wide known Stinky Gallery.
Simultaneously the artist acts as a "double agent" as she appropriates the Chris.com
persona and with her video camera lurks and sniffs through the same cyber cafes
and chats rooms. Unlike Chris.com, Jenny consumes the watched subjects as live
video streams. Jenny then archives them into a menu of video streams and labels
them with odors and numbers in order to broadcast them live as three video panoramic
projections on the walls. In addition to this broadcast of mesmerizing "smell
bound" human profiles and databases, a rich sound from net.radio streams plays
continuously, mixing ambient music, speech, hip-hop beats and other sound effects.
The sound itself it is a type of cross- breed.The viewer-the living- is immersed
in the olfactory world of Chris.com and the artist. Watch out ,Chris is lurking
Note: SMELL.BYTEST.TM 1998 has been realized as a co-production of the artist
with The Banff Centre, the Media and Visual Arts department during the summer
of 1998.The sound was a collaboration of the artist with the experimental net
radio,XCHANGE in Riga.
SMELL.BYTES TM Scratch and Sniff,Catalog available.
Jenny Marketou's work is shown courtesy of JHB Gallery, New York. .