Originally Published On http://www.cafleurebon.com 8 January, 2019
Amber Jobin, Art and Olfaction award-winning perfumer and owner of Aether Arts Perfume in Boulder Colorado, has released a new trio of perfume oils collectively called “Burner Perfumes 9A, 9B, 9C: The A.I. Series.” Created to coincide with 2018’s Annual Burning Man Festival whose theme was “I, Robot”, Amber’s A.I. Series is a cutting-edge glimpse into Japanese Roboticist Masahiro Mori’s theory known as the “Uncanny Valley”. Mori’s theory hypothesizes that although a persons emotional reaction to humanoid representations (i.e; human-appearing robotics, Disney’s “Audio Animitronics”, CGI animation etc…) SHOULD become more comfortable with more realistic-appearing human representations, the fact remains that most people actually become uneasy and troubled seeing them.
The Uncanny Valley hypothesis via wikiscience
Translating this to olfactive art Amber Jobin explains…“ The Uncanny Valley hypothesis explains why many people are made uncomfortable by robots and androids that appear almost, but not exactly like humans, a sort of familiar yet eerie feeling. I think my perfumes do some of this too. There are familiar smells in them but they are coupled with other notes that don’t normally go with them so you have an interesting juxtaposition that can be interpreted as unsettling. For me personally, I love pushing the boundaries of perfume, taking it to an unexpected place where it intersects with fascinating ideas and theories (like “Uncanny Valley”) while still making something wearable and beautiful. I didn’t design the scents with traditional perfume lovers in mind, that’s not really my demographic. The people who really love my perfumes are Gen X and younger, people in tech fields and of course the Burning Man folks. These are the people who love perfumes that engage the mind as well the senses and that don’t smell like anything else.”
Amber at Burning Man 2018
Amber Jobin’s Aether Arts A.I. Series perfumes are truly scented performance art, not always comfortable or easy, but always compelling and thought-provoking. As a serious perfumista you owe it to yourself to experience her work. Good or bad, but never indifferent, they are guaranteed to elicit an emotional response.
Aether Arts A.I. Series Burner Perfume No.9A
Aether Arts A.I. Series Burner Perfume No.9A Machine Intelligence: I think of Machine Intelligence as the beginning of a never-ending journey into the realm of quasi-sentient machinery; the dawn of the computer age, as this is the oil that smells most mechanical. Cold and metallic, with lashings of ozonic and electrically charged ions racing through space. At times there’s that familiar and comforting whiff of what I call “Amusement Park ride” a watery plugged-in scent; at other times the oil is reminiscent of outside air during a rain and lightning storm; petrichor and electricity. Notes: Aether Accord, Metallic Accord, Power Source Accord
Aether Arts A.I. Series Burner Perfume No.9B Android: From a building-sized 64-bit computer to a mini-tablet with a 2-TB memory, a humanoid appearing android seems to be a logical if unsettling next step in computing evolution. Of the three perfume oils in the A.I series, Android is the most accessible and easiest to wear.The warm power accord, meant to create a more humanistic feeling (like warmed skin) provides a softer and mellower wood note than the cooler power accord in Machine intelligence. There’s a slightly sweetened vanillic feeling that creates a comfortable and warming vibe. Notes: Synthetic Sheath Accord, Inner Fluids Accord, Warm Power Source Accord
Still from Ex Machina via Universal
Aether Arts A.I. Series Burner Perfume No.9C Synthetic Sex: Just last week I read an article in the UK Guardian newspaper that robotic sexual companionship will be available by the end of 2019 via lifelike androids with actual A.I. conversational capabilities all for a mere $30K.
Synthetic Sex may just give us a sense of impending robotic olfaction, with its almost latex-like rubber smell combined with a fluidic accord of oil, synthetic hemoglobin, sperm, hot electrical connection, and curiously, hot clay or sun-baked mud. An overtly sexual odor combined with a flesh and blood component clearly makes Synthetic Sex the most personal and private of the three perfumes. The mechanical vibe keeps it from straying into Secretions Magnifiques territory while still maintaining a purely carnal feeling. Wow! Notes: Virtual Space Accord, Warm Metal Accord, Seriously Sexual Accord
Technology is pulsing ahead at the speed of light, and with talented and forward-thinking perfumers like Amber Jobin, the fragrance industry cannot be far behind. If you don’t believe that, I pose the following question: when did we stop noticing websites asking us to prove that “I am not a robot” when uploading or downloading? Just think about that for a minute: I am not a robot. I rest my case.
Disclosure: Thanks so much to Amber Jobin for the samples of Aether Arts A.I. Series.The opinions are my own.
–Robert Herrmann, Senior Editor
-Art Direction: Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief
Editor’s Note: Amber Jobin won the Art and Olfaction Award for John Frum, 2014, and was a 3x top ten finalist for Love for Three Oranges (2016), Saffron (2017) and for her CaFleureBon Project Talisman collaboration Touchstone.
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