Microencapsulation is the innovative technology behind the 70's and 80's scratch and sniff phenomenon. This technology was developed along carbonless copy paper, where prior to word processing and the copy machine, thin sheets of paper and plastic were coated with with micro-capsules of scent or ink. So when scratched either scent or ink was displaced.
Although as complacent as carbonless copy paper, the trend of scratch and sniff has been retroactively used to generate multi-sensory experiences. Most often this technology is associated with scratch and sniff stickers who supposedly to hold their scents for years. This is documented by both Amy's Vintage Scratch'n'Sniff Sticker Library and Bubbledog's Scratch & Sniff Stickers. These smells will go undetected unless you have some form of digital scent technology, such as the iSmell Synthesizer, a computer USB device daydreamed to emit smells based on your browsing, unfortunately this product never developed past the prototype stages.
Like Willy Wonka, artist Kayleigh Webster developed Scratch and Sniff Wallpaper covered in fruit, while designer Michael Angelo along with Flavor Paper created Cherry Forever a cherry scented wallpaper which is marketed about $300 a role. If you think it couldn't get any weirder, the denim maison de couture Naked and Famous released Scratch-n-Sniff Raspberry Denim, where men's jeans have finally taken on the masculine effervescence of raspberries.
Two television programs have utilized olfaction; the US's TLC's channel enticed viewership with a scratch and sniff card for it's program Honey Boo Boo while the UK's BBC network utilized a scratch and sniff promotional flyer for it's show Filthy Cities. The English also engaged in a multi-sensory exhibition during their 2013 New Year's Eve celebration where fireworks on London's Thames were choreographed and curated to match a fruity scratch and sniff pamphlet. This sensory overload brings about the kid and crudeness in all of us, author Bryan B. received over $20K in support of his scratch and sniff children's book titled Animal Gas: A Scratch and Sniff Picture Book.
Aside from making folks smile with smelly stickers, whiff-able wall paper, stinky stories, and perfumed pants; microencapsulation had provided the public with aromatic apparatus to safely distinguish and identify the scent of natural gas, ammonia, paint thinner, expired milk, and most importantly poppers.
100 Objects of Popular and Material Culture is an blog exploring the manifestations of human consumption and commodity-ization. The purpose of this experiment is to explore material and popular culture in contemporary society by using objects and concepts to prompt wider questions and reflections. So by emulating The British Museum's and Neil MacGregor's format of A History of the World in 100 Objects I plan to satirically analyze and reinterpreted 100 material culture objects over the course of 2014. Material Culture is the study of our culture's consumption of stuff; namely the manifestation of culture through material productions where people's perceptions of objects is socially and culturally dependent. With this, objects reflect conscious and unconscious beliefs on the the individuals who fabricated, purchased, or used them, and by extension the society where they live. So examining materiality, cultural truths and societal assumptions may be discovered. As anthropologist Arjun Appaduai states "in any society the individual is often caught between the cultural structure of commodity-ization and his own personal attempts to bring a value and order to the universe of things." Objects and commodities make up a much larger symbolic system consisting of want and need, socio-economic status, fashion, etc. Often times form follows function whether the commodity, market, and or consumer forever evolve around one-another. Philosopher Pierre Bourdieu's theories of capital flow full circle; where regardless if you are a minimalist or a hoarder the world is made up of things and everyone will leave their footprint on the earth. So by humorously analyzing marketed objects and concepts, hopefully this blog will provide further incite into ideas of over-consumption, a disposable society, consumerism vs. anti-consumers, planned obsolescence vs. sustainability, as well as the greater good of mankind and future generations.