A perfume that evokes the scent of a decomposing body found in woodland is the subject of an unusual art installation premiering in Leicester this week.

The free, multi-sensory exhibition launches at the Phoenix cinema and art centre tomorrow.

The perfume, named Thanatos, has been developed in a collaboration between artist Eric Fong, perfumer Euan McCall and forensic anthropologist Dr Anna Williams, whose research into more than 400 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted during human decomposition underpins the installation.

The aroma of the perfume, can be experienced through interaction with a sculpture modelled on an autopsy table.

The installation is accompanied by a short film evoking the intensity of searching for a cadaver in a forest, and eerie photographs of staged crime scenes taken at the Crime Scene House at the Forensic Anthropology Department at Teesside University.

Thanatos is a perfume that smells of death
Thanatos is a perfume that smells of death

Inspired by the observation that some decomposition VOCs are identical to natural ingredients used in commercial perfumes, Thanatos is a blend of selected VOCs as well as floral and wood scents.

The audience will be taken on a journey from the ‘scentscape’ of an open meadow to the middle of a secluded forest where a decomposing body is discovered, said a spokesperson for the exhibition.

Phoenix in Leicester

The exhibition will be open from Friday, January 10, until Sunday, February 23, from 9am to 11pm weekdays and 10am to 11pm at weekends.

There will be an opportunity to explore the forensic research which underpins the Thanatos exhibition in a free panel talk and workshop with the team behind the project at Phoenix on Saturday, February 1.

Places can be reserved at the Phoenix box office or online.

Thanatos premieres at Phoenix before touring to Middlesborough in March and London in April.

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Source: Perfume that smells of death features in new Leicester art installation – Leicestershire Live

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