In Veldwerk#7 Famous Deaths a sensorial installation where you get to experience through scent and sound the final minutes of celebrities like John F.Kennedy, Whitney Houston, Lady Diana, Moammar al-Qadhafi and Vincent van Gogh.
Leonieke Verhoog speaks with creator Mark Meeuwenoord designer of Famous Deaths experience. Famous Deaths was initiated as part of the project SENSE of SMELL project at the department of Communication and Multimedia Design at the Avans University of Applied Sciences in Breda, where Meeuwenoord teaches.
Leonieke: "In four to five minutes you have a very bizarre experience. It’s absolutely not suitable for people with claustrophobia''
In the conversation, Meeuwenoord explains the powerful impact smell has on our bodies and emotions.
To experience Famous Deaths, you are shoved into a dark mortuary freezer. All visual senses are thereby turned off and the body can entirely focus on sound and smell. In 5 minutes you experience from a first person perspective what these famous people may have heard and smelled during the last minutes of their life.
Leonieke experienced the story of pop diva Whitney Houston who died at the age of 48 in the bathtub of the Beverly Hilton hotel where her body was found.
‘’I heard how she slowly stepped into the bathtub, I smelled the soap and I heard her lighting a joint and smelled the marijuana’’ - Leonieke Verhoog
In 2015 Famous Deaths won the Art & Olfaction Award in Los Angeles in the category experimental work with scent. In this annual competition independent perfumery and olfactory art projects are judged blind folded.
⇠ Watch the previous episode: Notes on Blindness