T4 : Removing the essence of the object

The ephemerality of the primary object of this project has led me to consider the nature of what the physical object for display has become. Rather than being something that resides within the diesel prints themselves, it has become a dislocated copy; a reference print that has locked down the affect of the diesel on the paper to a point in time about a week to 10 days after the print was taken from the diesel.

Whilst this provides permanence, something that I would normally take for granted in my work, it is also somewhat reductive of the overall… ambience (?) of the work. Is this Benjamin's "aura" I'm talking of? Authenticity? During the making of the images, the smell of the diesel impregnated through the paper has become part of the experience of the images for me, so looking at the re-photographed images is different to looking at the original version. The smell of the diesel provides a physical link to the process, but also more importantly a metaphoric link to the subjects themselves, the gasoline stations.

It’s a conundrum for me – how to have permanence and the olfactory element together. One suggestion made would be to exhibit the prints alongside a glass tank of diesel. This would provide both an interesting visual element and the potential for the smell, although there will be significant fire prevention and health and safety risks to take account of. Another method would be to synthesize the smell somehow, but I wouldn’t know where to start!

So, for assessment, this leaves me in an odd place too. The original object is now the secondary object, nothing more than part of the process, but the presence of the diesel images during the assessment will provide that trace. That is assuming OCA will accept the prints. I certainly can’t post them, and whilst I should be able to hand-deliver them, there remains storage and other considerations for their insurance, etc. I await clarification – my submission may change again before the time comes for assessment.
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