Saturday, November 06, 2010

Project VL

Dr Zhivago, originally uploaded by RobH3.

Strange project I've been mulling over for quite some time... Admittedly, at first the concept kinda weirded me out a bit and I almost turned it down. Than I got sucked into it, probably just in the same way that most virtual love affairs take their victims by surprise.

At one of my events, I'm approached by a young gal, probably in her 20's. She's uber enthusiastic about scents and the conversation, like at times happens with perfume lovers (who seem to often have a passionate personality), turns into love and relationships.

As it turns out, she is tortured by an unfulfilled love. She's had this virtual lover for 3 years now. They have never met in person. She wants to meet him, but he's very far away and she'd broken her heart enough times to know better than travel the globe for a fickle virtual love affair and the empty promises it might deliver. And of course, the few friends she confided in to tell her tormenting tale urge her to run for the hills and forget all about it.

But logic aside - she is also scared of ruining the fantasy. A fantasy that at first seemed very real, supported by whatever gestures of love made possible by emoticons and webcam conversations. And the fantasy only seemed to grow out of proportion the more vague and ambiguous his gestures are. Come to think of it, now he is acting all mysterious and only gives of himself about tenth of what she puts into this virtual relationship.

Like many modern lovers, they communicate through the internet. They have never spoken on the phone. She has never even heard his voice. But she can hear it in her head. Sometimes she'll wake up in the middle of a dream after she's heard him call her name...

In short - these two love birds have been communicating with webcam and texting (or - is it now called sexting?!) on and off for the past 3 years and she's equally tormented and pleasured by this distant intimacy, also giving her a semi-legitimate excuse to not date any "real" men in her vicinity.

So what does all this have to do with scent, than? The woman has never smelled her lover and that is the most painful thing for her about this mostly un-fulfilled love. When she asked him to send her a sweaty t-shirt of his he conveniently ignored her request and just kept going about his merry visual and text methods of communications.

So I promised this young lady to help her create a scent that will make her think of her virtual lover. He may not be generous enough to send her sweaty t-shirts, but that does not mean that she can't have a connection between him and a scent (besides that uber-erotic scent of a laptop keyboard, of course, and the exciting tone she assigned to his text messages, that always make her heart race).

On return for this olfactory favour, I will be telling the tales of this tremulous love story. A tale that many people might be able to relate to, but are too shy to talk about...

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At August 02, 2011 9:25 AM, Blogger Gabriel's Aunt said...

Ayala, WOW! What a project. The fact that someone asked you to create something like this is , well, amazing and strange at the same time! I say strange only because it is an extreme to request a scent of someone they have never met. Shows that scent is very, very powerful and emotional! Excited to hear about more of this project. Hoping you update us!

At August 02, 2011 9:48 AM, Blogger Ayala Moriel said...

Yes, it's a totally bizarre yet intriguing project. Initially, I was perplexed by the fact that romantic relationships becoming so impersonal. On the other hand, intrigued by how much people need a sense of closeness, and will seek it at whatever price.

It also brought up a lot of interesting thoughts about the role of our senses in interpersonal communication - and the sense of smell is definitely more powerful than most people give it credit... We know it subconsciously, but we are not fully aware of it until it is absent!


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