Central Saint Martins student Apolline Saillard recently completed her MA Communications Design project on anosmia, which featured contributions from Fifth Sense members. Here’s Fifth Sense’s Sarah Page to tell us more.
‘Unknown Quantities’ is the title of a joint publication by MA Culture, Criticism and Curation and MA Communication Design students of Central Saint Martins University. The work in the journal is incredibly diverse, due to each student having the ability to pursue their own choice of topic; exploring themes of regeneration, gentrification, interdisciplinary and collaboration, especially across art and science. Among the students contributing to the publication was Apolline Saillard, MA Communication Design student.
Apolline got in touch with me late January this year. She was working on an piece of work about anosmia for UQ and asked if I would like to have my photographic series of portraits based on anosmia published in the first edition of UQ. My instant reaction was “YES, of course”! The photographs were something that I had worked on in September 2013, in hope that they would somehow catch the attention of the many people oblivious to the word ‘anosmia’. UQ was a great opportunity to do just that.
It was clear from reading Apolline’s emails that she had a keen interest in anosmia and I was extremely happy to find someone else exploring this. Finally, we met in person in March at the Fifth Sense charity press launch at the grand Senate House in London (which by the way, it was an absolutely fantastic day. I urge anyone with a smell or taste disorder or an interest in the senses of smell and taste to attend the next Fifth Sense event!).
Apolline’s display at her degree show
Fifth Sense Founder Duncan Boak and I both contributed to Apolline’s piece in UQ, and we were invited to the Lethaby Gallery in London for the launch party. I met Apolline there early to attend her workshop on Anosmia. Apolline lead her presentation while referring to statistics from the Fifth Sense ‘Quality of Life Impact of Smell and Taste Disorders’ survey and quotes from people affected by anosmia with accompanying images. A small bunch of onlookers sat and quietly listened to this completely unheard-of discovery unraveling before them. I gave a brief description of my work and then we both sat down to prepare us for the questions heading our way. Afterwards, Apolline passed around two 3D printed modeled noses and asked if they could tell the difference between the two. One was a replica of a person with anosmia, and one with their full sense of smell (obviously, there are no visual telltale signs). Anosmia is sometimes referred to as an invisible disability and this certainly came across well in Apolline’s work.
L-R: Duncan Boak, Apolline Saillard and Sarah Page
Later that day we had chance to wander around the degree show with a glass of wine and take a look at the work surrounding us in the room. The exhibition housed some fantastic work, but personally one project in particular stood out for me the most. ‘Multisensory Plateware Design’ by Ferdinand Freiler focused on creating a more intense flavour and dining experience through the use of plateware. On display were two unusual white, small oval bowls. The characteristics (colour, texture, shape and size) were said to be specifically designed to compliment and enhance the eating experience. The first bowl had smooth small ridges on the outside, the second was the opposite, with evenly spaced spiky ridges. I thought how great of an idea this was especially for people who’ve lost their enjoyment in food.
At 8pm the launch party finally took off. The room was buzzing with students, tutors, contributors and members of the public. Following a very warm welcome, everyone involved were given a very public ‘thank you’ for the work they contributed. Some hundred printed copies of UQ were stacked upon each other on tables. Finally, I got my hands on it! It was a cheerful orange and grey book, over 1cm thick with a durable matte texture; something much more substantial than your everyday magazine. 23 pages in was Apolline’s work titled ‘ODOURS; Give Voice to the Silence’. Included was an interview with Patty Canac (olfacto-therapist), an hallucinatory illustration of the olfactory system by Rebecca Hendin, portrait photographs by Apolline and an article about anosmia and Fifth Sense with my images accompanying the write up.
I was extremely proud to see the piece finished. Seeing the whole 15 pages, all based on the olfactory system, gave me a sense of hope and determination for the future: What else can we utilise to spread the word? Who else can we get involved? Where could Fifth Sense be in a few years time?
I’d like to congratulate everyone involved, to the students completing their studies, and a very big thank you to Apolline for helping give people with anosmia a voice.
Apolline Saillard – Olfaction: Not Invisible Anymore:
Rebecca Hendin – Illustration of the olfactory system:
Sarah Kathleen Page – Anosmia photographic work: