Oakmoss (Evernia Prunastri)

2017

Whilst in residency at Arc (Romainmôtier, Jura region, Switzerland) the artist explored the potential of scent as a transformational and curative medium. Through daily walks from Arc and adapting mapping processes both old and new, the artist sourced, harvested, catalogued and processed more than one hundred wild organic medicinals growing wild in the Jura. The residency project (which also included discussions with a local Ayurvedic herbalist) led to the production of large scale hand-rolled l incense cones from a selection of the processed medicinal materials, including Oakmoss (a substance with a  long-standing history within the perfumery industry). 

Within the work with a full title of  12:10 46˚41.617’N 006˚27.899’E Oakmoss (Evernia Prunastri) – shown at Espace dAM, Romainmôtier – the artist lit and transmitted the scent of Oakmoss. The works title marks the precise time, date, and GPS location where the Oakmoss was harvested.

Each incense cone is placed upon x3 5 Swiss Franc coins (welded together operating as a make-shift incense holder). The ‘editing’ of the ‘Fiat’ money is intended to question why it is  supposedly unlawful to deface coinage, but not so for governments (and multinationals) worldwide to behave in such a way that is destroying our precious planets eco-system. When the cones are lit and smoulder to ash, transmitting their Oakmoss scent, the coinage beneath is revealed to be worthless anyway. 

By symbolically placing the natural world before and above ‘Fiat’ money, profit (and the era of late capitalism,) it is intended that the viewer/receptor might realise the fact that if the natural world is not saved then humankind and their financial systems will cease to exist anyway.

The use of incense is the most ancient and original form of scent transmission and has been used both ceremonially and ritualistically for millennia. Interestingly the word ‘perfume’ originates from the Latin ‘per fumus’ meaning ‘through smoke’.

Dimensions variable.
Hand-rolled Oakmoss incense cones, x9 5 Swiss Franc coins, scent composition (Notes of: Oakmoss).