Pure Fume, an olfactory installation by Jessica Hannah.
Close your eyes. Take a slow deep breath in through your nose. Urine, shit, sweat, blood, vomit, semen. Soap, cologne, lotion, baby powder, hair spray. Urinal cake, air freshener, bleach, floor wax. Spilling out, piling up, with desperate intentions of washing away.
Eau de Public Restroom would probably only sell a couple of bottles. More of a marketing issue than a “smells terrible” problem. This is the place where we privately expose our most vulnerable parts, expel what has built up, and then repackage to impress. It’s all supposed to be a disappearing act but there is always a trace left hanging in the air.
Jessica Hannah is a perfumer who chooses to use only the purest ingredients she can find. Pure in the world of perfumery is not virginal, untouched, and innocent. As with any profession, experts pull everything apart and revel in the components. They master the building blocks. “I used to hate pungent smells, now I crave them.” The perfumers ideal destination is a sublime spot between the divine and the vile. Alchemy. Along with beautiful plant sex and endangered wood, historically cherished perfumes all contain some amount of exotic animal poop and feral feline spray. Crap of an elephant’s cousin. Brined fermented whale bile. It’s not all nuts and berries.
Jessica is uncovering the parts. She is exposing the layers of a scent she has created for Loo. But her essentials are not intended to be the end. They are the foundation of a scent that will build as the month progresses.
As you flush the commode sending a fine mist of your personal contribution around the room, cherish the moment to confidently say that your caca smells like gold.