Created during a time in American history that has provided plentiful evidence of the ever-crueler government policies against immigrants and non-white residents, Guilty Smells imagines a time in the not-so-far future when all “foreign food” has been outlawed, and diners who foolishly choose falafel over french fries are subject to immediate and forceful arrest.
In this multi-sensory satire, you embody a police sniffing dog, trained to recognize the scents of patriotic American and illicit Foreign food. Empowered only with a powerful bark, you hold every citizen’s fate in your paws. You must sniff each person having lunch at the park, determine the type of food they are eating, and make your call whether or not to call in the SWAT team. Approaching a diner in the game triggers the connected smell hardware in the real world, which releases one of four possible food smells for you to identify and respond appropriately. The material used in this project is small portions of real food (tacos, falafel, lo mein, and burgers), over which four separate streams of air can be triggered on command to blow the scent toward the player.
Guilty Smells was featured in exhibition at the inaugural Commisserate Chicago Festival in February 2020, and was selected for Alt-Ctrl-GDC Showcase 2020. Though the event was cancelled due to the Coronavirus, we hope to show it again when we can get together again, and after everyone has recovered from their Covid-19 parosmia!
Perfect Plum’s original and best-known product was the revolutionary iPhone app, the OhMiBod Remote app (formerly: Body Heat.)
The OhMiBod app was an intuitive and stylish vibrator interface for the iPhone. By “finger painting” on the touchscreen with one or two fingertips, the user could adjust and adapt vibration speed, intensity, and patterns solely by sense of touch. Output from the app was translated into signals which propel the motor of an attached vibrator, which could be purchased separately from OhMiBod’s online store or in select retail shops.
The inspiration for the OhMiBod app was my dissatisfaction with the functionally awkward user interfaces employed by most personal vibrators on the market, such as the most common, a single button which was used to blindly “cycle through” a dozen settings. When I got my first iPod Touch and started playing with the touchscreen, I realized it was the perfect interface to provide more nuanced control. The app’s beautiful graphic interface helped users identify and instantly access their favorite sensations. But its primary strength was its ability to translate intuitive finger movements into a wide range of vibration strengths and patterns. In other words, the OhMiBod app was especially well-suited to operate one-handed, with eyes closed.
SUGAR is a multi-modal sensory installation I completed while Artist-in-Residence at Subotron, the video game culture center at the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna, Austria. Based on the aesthetics and lore of the famed Spanish Riding School (Austria’s historic royal performing horses), SUGAR treats the excesses of the imperial court culture and Hapsburg history both from a romantic point of view, and with a knowing wink.
The SUGAR project was a collaboration with fellow Artists in Residence Leonie Smelt (fashion) and Mitch Heinrich (product design), as well as remote collaborators Damien Di Fede (programming) and Anna Zajaczkowski (visualization and programming). Games, music, chemistry, performing arts, fashion, DIY electronics, and the culinary arts combined to create a “temporary glitter zone” in the heart of the Electric Avenue, the Digital Culture area of Quartier21.
Highlights of the project:
SUGAR, a collaborative computer game for two players, in which players enter the Spanish Riding School as performing Lipizzaner stallions
The “Action Olofactorizer,” a hardware/software/chemical system for scent delivery, in which combinations of specially-designed scent fluids (grass, leather, horse excrement) can be triggered by various player actions and vaporized for distribution in the space
Visual design and fashion creations by Leonie Smelt, based on her 2009 line kaleidoscope eyes
Custom designed data visualizations, including “Diffstream Meadow” created to illustrate the two-month-long progress of game code development
Video: SUGAR gameplay
Dress Sketches by Leonie Smelt
The Action Olofactorizer scent delivery system, created with Mitch Heinrich (CAD design and first prototype)
Bonus video: plucking the “horse apple” used to create the Olofactorizer’s “horse poop” smell! (Special thanks to Anderson Mills)