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Indepth Arts News:

"Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan: Scentbar - Fragrances for Troubled Times"
2005-07-15 until 2005-07-23
Plug In, ICA
Winnipeg, MB, CA Canada

Subversively blurring the distinction between art, personal service, and corporate seduction, Winnipeg-based performance artists Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan create and animate the perfumery Scentbar. Arranged inside the gallery space of Plug In ICA and serviced by the artists, Scentbar creates custom-blended scents for anyone who enters the gallery and wishes to participate (service is also offered by appointment). These scents are promoted as “personalized fragrances,” and are generated out of interviews with each client that reveal both the desires and anxieties that populate their memories.

Further extending the potential ambivalence of the experience, the aromatic formula reflects both the wearer and his/her surroundings. More specifically, the comfort, cleanliness and decadence of the service is undermined by the product (which draws upon questionable scents such as “rental car” and “light industry”) as well as the promotional video that replaces expected images of aromatic purity with a series of malodorous disasters. As the sensory experience subsequently intensifies, Dempsey and Millan temper the luxury of an exclusive consumer-cultural experience with questions of ambient social norms and environmental interaction. The performance will begin with the fragrance launch party on July 14th, where guests have the opportunity to eat, drink, get a perfume blended, and mingle their scents in and around the Scentbar.

The performance/installation will remain open for another two weeks for individual scent consultations. Call Plug In ICA 942 1043 to make your appointment.


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