November 9, 2015

MikMoi Ideasthesia - Six Perfumes

"Static" by Owen Brown

Ideasthesia is the title of an collaborative exhibition joining a number of aesthetic fronts that took place in San Francisco this past September. MikMoi, a favorite indie perfumer I have written of before, with a distinctively specific signature style, collaborated with two artists --  painter and illustrator Owen Brown, and poet Emily Wolahan, in a pop-up exhibit at SOMArts.  Perfume, colored drawings and found poetry were the elements, layered together.

Ideasthesia is here being used as a substitute word for Synesthesia, that sensation of one kind of sensual experience triggering others in another sense, such as hearing a musical note and seeing a color or smelling a perfume at the same time.

A mind/body cross sensory unification.  Idea and sensation as one, a network of associations. There's a video that explains in depth, and how Ideasthesia is something we all do often, closely akin or even sometimes the same as synesthesia. The concept of Ideasthesia is also defined in detail in this interesting piece by Keith Hillman.  Mik Moi posted a great description of the collaboration on his website.

I think of it as a heightened form of associative thinking, or in this case feeling, an empathy of the senses, because all our sensory and mental experiences are inter-related (mind and body as one). This is clear in the experience of perfume, which triggers a cascade of associations, meaning, memory, and emotion, that sometimes may even evoke a visual reference or an ideal harmony within ourselves.

The perfumes that mean the most to us or seem the most beautiful strike on our personal inner memory chords of pleasurable experiences.  The notes perfumers use are a repertoire, similar to shades of color and sounds and words, chosen and combined for their special qualities and powers to reach inside.

For me, olfactory and visual senses are more often centered and attuned to pleasure and beauty, while others like language and music often hold other kinds of concepts within their beautiful forms, creating rhythms, narratives and imparting information that may comment on or discuss the experience evoked, as good and bad or ambivalent.

MikMoi put together a brilliant and  exceptionally gorgeous suite of five accords, which work as perfumes in his signature style, inspired by or cross-pollinated with the artist and the poet. The painter used lines colors and spaces expressing aspects of pure life energy, and the poet gathered audience responses and posted her curated choices, creating additional layers of sympathetic response.

The five perfumes are built as separate accords that work as stand-alone perfumes and harmoniously with each other. Their titles give an idea as to inspiration and effect. They are all sensitive, subtle and highly decorative. These are lovely interpretations of general concepts, abstracts that still hit on very specific scent experiences to bring you inside the intitial inspiration.

They layer wonderfully beside each other, in sets of two or three or all five.  They have that kind of connection to Nature that makes everything that happens between them fit together in an organic way.

There is a true lightness within all these fragrances that is neither sheer or superficial, but brings in a smoothness with an open quality to the powerful forces of distilled nature that are captured within them, to trigger the wearer's own scent memories.

Breath - Has a sweetened and metallic edge that is full of energy, as when breathing in deeply you take in energy and life.  A nectar then prevails with a mint tang that cools your face as you breath it in. Sweet fresh green. The notes are listed as Fig, Clary Sage, Petitgrain, Spearmint and Cut Grass.

Known - combines woods with spacious air, and a core that is solid and anchoring, like the peaceful center within yourself.  Gentle and serious,  grounding, meditative. Notes are listed as Sandalwood, Cedar, Pinon Pine, Ho Wood and Ood.

Found - Cooled spices, perhaps a tea that begins with cinnamon, toned with ginger, that makes room for the scent of your own skin, while still having and holding true strength of its own. Notes listed as Clove, Black Pepper, Cinnamon and Ginger.  

North - personally find this one especially beautiful, creating a big space that holds corners for the intimate and cozy, which sounds strange, but the scent itself sends you out over big open fields/ distances, still tinged by the warmth of the skin/body as a reminder of the blood's heat inside and the quiet sense of life that prevails at your own beating heart's center. It's intense without being heavy. Partial list of notes: Tuberose, Jasmin, Rose and Geranium.

Birth - the freshness of Citrus, a floral decorative flourish pure and bright. Steady stream of lively freshness.  Notes listed as Blood Orange, Bergamot, Pink Grapefruit and Neroli.

There is a sixth vial called Ideasthesia, which I take to be a combination of all the accords, that travels through and blends the sensations described above.

This set of perfumes can be sampled at the perfumer's site, and I hope that the full sizes become available as requested.  These are true beauties and a brilliant set of pure scent experiences that are involving, lively and pleasing to wear for yourself and others.

Please hit the links above for more info and to order the sample set.
Photos taken from the Mik Moi and SOMArts sites as linked above.

Copyright 2015, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.

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