Recent addition to the permanent collection

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Recent addition to the permanent collection
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July 18-August 8, 2009 Cabinet event space, 300 Nevins Street, Brooklyn, NY ? Recent addition to the permanent collection could be described as an invisible modification of the exhibition space, one invoking change, decay, and prestige through the use of a signature of the scent of oak moss. Oak moss (Evernia Prunastri) is a natural lichen which has a very lovely, smooth, and slightly musty odor. Highly sought after as an ingredient in perfumes in the nineteenth century, the use of natural oak moss declined after 1898, when a single part of its odor profile, Evernyl, was isolated and synthesized for the first time and became an ingredient in a range of famous 1920s perfumes and, via the vagaries of cold war fashion, 1970s men's colognes. Oak moss itself is no longer easily available in commercial quantities. It grows chiefly in old stands of oaks, moldering slowly in very still groves. It has been close to unobtainable since 1986, as many of the best remaining natural sources are deep in the Ukraine, around a small town called Chernobyl. Evernyl, for its part, remains a staple of the flavor and fragrance industry. Also known as Mousse Metra, Veramoss, or more rigorously, methyl 2,4-dihydroxy-3,6-dimethylbenzoate, the scent of Evernyl was described in Stephan Jellinek's classic technical text Perfumery: Practice and Principles with a single, oddly untechnical word: "dusty". He elsewhere classifies it as erogenic, in accordance with his unusual application of Freudian theory to the sense of smell. This exhibition is part of a larger research project focusing on the classification of odors, the relationship between odor and space, and its applications to architecture and design. An related article, 'Notes on Scent', (co-authored with Adam Jasper),on the problem the sense of smell poses to description, was published in issue 32 (2009) of Cabinet magazine.
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