exhibition design of a multi-sensory installation
"Scents, Records of a Memory" was a multi sensory installation as part of the exhibition "Making Southwark" in the beginning of March 2024. The project in collaboration with the RCA-artist Roberta De Caro and Southwark Archive is a tribute to human memory and its eagerness to record and preserve the past. The piece reflects on the gaps and limitations of recorded history, and highlights smell as its silent and invisible companion. The art piece builds on our archival research and the records documenting the industrial life of Bermondsey since the mid-19th century and especially the work of perfumer James E. Atkinson. Atkinson's factory was based in the midst of the borough's industrial hub between the manufactures and tanning factories of leather to the production of gelatine and sweets. These leading industries that characterised the smell and odour of the area. Based on this, we portray the juxtaposition between the creation of bourgeois perfumes and their ignoble production, the area’s pollution and the demotion of the working class through smell in the industrialised Bermondsey.
> caption: In our exhibition design, we aimed to trigger the four main body senses: the visual (glass artefact and light), the tactile (interacting with the raw materials and leaflets), the auditive (ticking sound), the olfactory (the smell of the raw materials and overall scent). When walking toards the installation, the visitor was firstly encountered with the interactive raw materials and leaflets inviting them to smell, touch and read about the underlying research. This tangible and direct elements portrayed the preserved information and archivable evidence that can still be interacted with. As a second layer, the abstract glass installation would follow as a visualization of the area’s pollution and subjective experience of the individual. Accompanied with a constant ticking sound and smell, we wanted to pene- trate the visitor in the same way that the resident working class was during the industrialisation, harsh repetitive working conditions, and overarching stanch in the borough.
 > caption: In our installation, we didn’t just aim to delve into the industrial production of the perfumes in Bermondsey, but also highlight his importance in advertisment design through the creation of accompanying leaflets inspired by the look of Atkinson’s catalogues and packaging. 
 > photos by Javier Barral, art direction and concept by: Juliane Baur, Javier Barral, Jules Lansac, Sarah Luisa Kuhlewind, Paul Paterson; in artistic collaboration with Roberta de Caro; with support of Southwark Archives and Royal College of Arts