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Sight, Smell &

Memory

by Chelsea Yi Wen Chen


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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“ The senses don’t just make sense of life in bold or subtle acts of clarity, they tear reality apart into vibrant morsels and reassemble them into a meaningful pattern.” —Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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01

02

Why I Smell

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Break Through Darkness �

_06

_12

TABLE

of


mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

03

04

05

Embrace

Unforgetten Memories

Breath of Life

Nature aa _18

:

XXX _30

www _40


A Sight, Smell and Memory

Chapter

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01


Why I

Smell

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A Sight, Smell and Memory

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"Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived. The odors of fruits waft me to my southern home, to my childhood frolics in the peach orchard. Other odors, instantaneous and f leeting, cause my heart to dilate joyously or contract with remembered grief. Even as I think of smells, my nose is full of scents that start awake sweet memories of summers gone and ripening fields far away." —Helen Keller


08 | 09

Smells spur memories, but they also rouse our dozy senses, pamper and indulge to help define our self-image, stir the multipart of our seductiveness, warn us of danger, lead to into temptation, fan our religious fervor, accompany us to heaven, wed us to fashion, steep us in luxury. Over time, smell has become the least necessary, of our senses, ‘’the fallen angel,” as Helen Keller dramatically calls it Some researchers believe that we do indeed perceive, through smell, much of the same information lower animals do. In a room full of businesspeople, one would get information about which individuals were important, which were confident, which were sexually receptive, which in conflict, all through smell. The difference it that we don’t have a trigger response. We’re aware of smell, but we don’t automatically react in certain ways, because of it, as most animals would. We seem unable to live in Nature without taking on its smells and wearing them as talismans, imagining we possess their ferocity, magnetism, or zest. On the one hand, we live in quarters sanitary and orderly, and if Nature should be rude enough to enter—in the form of a vole, fly, or termite crawling along the skirting boards, or a squirrel in the foundations, or a bat in the attic—we stalk it with the blood lust of a hunter. On the other hand, we insist on bringing Nature indoors with us. We touch the wall and make daylight flood a room we turn a dial and it’s summer, we surround ourselves with a caravan of completely unnecessary outdoor smells—pine, lemon, flowers. We may not need smell to survive, but without it we feel lost and disconnected.


A Sight, A Smell Sight, and SmellMemory and Memory

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early morning


10 | 11

9:00 am

First breath in the morning, I still feel a little bit unwilling to wake up. I heard people say when we sleep, we cannot smell anything. After waking up, I encounter the fragrance around me and smell becomes a reflex action. The specific scents are familiar, but vague. When the cold air enters into my nasal cavity, I only miss my warm bed.


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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Chapter

02


Break Through

Darkness � � � � � �

Since arriving in America, my nose has taken on more jobs. In my country, Taiwan, the weather is humid, and it smells moist and slightly rich. Here, it’s dry and the range of scent is imaginative and wide. Artificial fragrance and smelly things both can be so heavy.


Breathe ∞∞ ∞ breathe i can't breathe i know breathe the walls are closing in breathe i am trapped breathe in a cage i built myself breathe air cannot break these chains breathe there is not enough oxygen in all the atmosphere to fill my hollow lungs A Sight, Smell and Memory


14 | 15

� � � � � �


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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10:00 am


16 | 17

The confined space still retained the scents of the last group of people who entered. It got into my body and I couldn’t escape. The thin air made me dizzy, and the few seconds felt like forever. When the door opened, suddenly everything released, but from a small confined space to a bigger area which contained some recycled garbage. The smells of cartons and plastics were stale and not fresh. Finally I broke through the door and got the sunshine and fresh air. Cold wind diluted all bad smells on the sidewalk, the odor was not too bad. I saw a guy pee on the street. Although I couldn’t really smell it, it reminded me of the pungent smell of urine I have smelled before. Our senses link together with our brains, and brains predict all kinds of situations from memories.


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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Chapter

aaaaaaa

03


Embrace

Nature

After walking for a while, I almost arrived at the Embarcadero. It was very fresh there. When walking through the ferry building, there was an aroma full of bakery and a hint of the smell of the bay. After passing the building, the percentages changed to heavy salty bay smell along with a gasoline odor and a lingering food smell.


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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Oh strong-ridged and deeply hollowed nose of mine! what will you not be smelling? What tactless asses we are, you and I, boney nose, always indiscriminate, always unashamed,

and now it is the souring f lowers of the bedraggled poplars: a festering pulp on the wet earth beneath them. With what deep thirst we quicken our desiresto that rank odor of a passing springtime!


20 | 21

Can you not be decent? Can you not reserve your ardors for something less unlovely?

What girl will care for us, do you think, if we continue in these ways? Must you taste everything? Must you know everything? Must you have a part in everything?

—William Carlos Williams


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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aaaaaaa


22 | 23

to Sausalito The salty sea smell was heavier when I arrived in Sausalito. The natural landscape made the air fresher. One side of the street was the sea, and the other side was full of plants. I felt happy and satisfied. Pigeons followed the aroma of food to grab some meals.


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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the smell of the sea is overpowered by the watermelon fragrance of newly mowed lawn

wagtails hunting for unseen tit-bits among shrubs—


a butcherbird swoops— swallowing the spoil an earthworm becomes a bone of contention if only the wagtails had agreed to share... there’s enough for all of us to go around

— Suzette Richards


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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10:40 am

I love the smell of leaves more than flowers. When I take a deep breath of fresh plants, it makes my whole body wake up. And flowers look more fragrant than when you smell them. I was looking at the houses beside the street and imagined if staying here, what life would be like. It must be too far away to smell the odors of the city, right?


26 | 27


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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Scattering sweet fragrance throughout soft air Perfection at heaven’s finest Remembrance paints one soul a flare Calmly soothing My unrest

Despite all the changes time has made Sweet fragrance sings to me In all my dreams a pleasing promenade Evokes a kiss of Fragrant potpourri

A medley dances within my senses fine Of sweet nights with you Scattering fragrance throughout my mind Painting my soul Anew

This sweet fragrance has no beginning Each kiss begins endlessly Dances within my senses softly awakening This fire inside So heavenly

—Neva Flores Varga


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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U

Chapter

04


Unforgettable Memories

I met my old friend from LA, she brought me some macarons which were full of memories.

XXXXXX


A Sight, A Smell Sight, and SmellMemory and Memory

5:00 pm

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a gift from an old friend


d

32 | 33


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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34 | 35

memories in LA

Before coming to San Francisco, I stayed in LA for half a year. I had a regular campus life there. Although the life was kinda boring, I do miss everything I had there. I lived inside UCLA dorm, the environment was so empty and full of fresh air. That was the campus life smell, the pursuing dreams smell, the unadorned but happy smell. I even miss the same turkey sandwich I had everyday.


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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More than the presence Fragrance becomes a reality Aroma which lingers around you But you cannot touch The flower is miles away in memories Yet, the aroma is fresh, always A whiff binds you to it A surreal presence

—Amitav Radiance


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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7:00 pm

homesick The scents continuously woke up my memories. I wanted to have Taiwanese food for dinner. My roommates and I called for a delivery from taste of Formosa. In Chinese, taste and smell are the same word. It’s interesting, just like when we cannot smell anything, then also cannot taste any smell of food. I ordered a stinky tofu and oyster omelet and bubble milk tea. I didn’t expect too much, but the stinky tofu smells so much like Taiwan. Because in Taiwan stinky tofu is really common, we are trained naturally to accept it. For us, it’s not stinky but tasty and makes you secrete saliva.


38 | 39

When people or things become memories, then always leave the good parts only. I only remember the comfortable scents in my home and forget the rebellious ages and how much I disliked the atmosphere in the house.

the smell of my

I don’t have too close of a relationship with my family, but I still remember and cherish the smells of their warm arms now. Any feelings can motivate me to be nostalgic, but always miss people instead of stuff.


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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wwwwwww

Chapter


Breath

of

Life

We cannot smell ourselves, just like Grenouille (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) yearns to smell so much, I found the satisfied feelings from my small blanket.


A Sight, Smell and Memory

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42 | 43

We cannot smell ourselves. Just like Grenouille (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer) yearns to smell so much, I have the satisfied feelings from my small blanket. Bringing the smell of my body wash when I got in my bed. I love the scents of my bed the most. It contains all things I love: My lover, my cat and my small blanket. The smell of love makes people feel satisfied and complete. Everyone has different scents, and are also attracted by different scents. They are not sweet like perfume, but so comfortable and they make you want to keep breathing to taste them. I just realized, in this ordinary life, to breathe deeply can also make me feel so content. Rich scents and memories accompany me when I fall asleep. All my love will always surround me in my dreams.


A Sight, Smell and Memory

∞∞ ∞


Goodnight and sweet dreams


A Sight, Smell and Memory

∞∞ ∞

Chelsea Yi Wen Chen 888 O'Farrell Street Apt w1108 San Francisco, CA94109 310 310 1331 chelsea40@hotmail.com Designer: Chelsea Yi Wen Chen Photography:Chelsea Yi Wen Chen Typeface: Laski Sans, Carre Noir Pro Instructor: Stan Zienka Sponsored by Academy of Art University GR613 Experimental Typography Printed in U.S.A.


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