Byrdcliffe Colony, Woodstock, NY
site-based research | hydrosol collection | public event
How can we sense the essence of a place? 42°N, 74°W was a month-long investigation of local plants at the Byrdcliffe Colony in upstate New York. What emerged from experiments in embodied research was a collection of hydrosols made from wild-foraged mint, sugar maple leaf, multi-flora rose, clay from under fallen maple tree, white pine, dirt from under white pine tree, hemlock, and red raspberry leaf. Each leaf, petal, pine branch, or portion of clay that was used for a hydrosol was also mapped with a GPS log of coordinates.
During a special event, Byrdcliffe artists and the surrounding community were invited to a sensory experience in the woods where the hydrosols were presented in spray bottles to awaken their aromatic reception. Featured plants were arranged throughout the space. At a tasting station, guests were also invited to sip a hydrosol cocktail that was paired with a hydrosol-sprayed dessert. Later, during a Hydrosol Haiku performance, guests were paired to face each other and asked to spray the space between them with an unnamed hydrosol. Verbal responses to the scents were recorded and turned into haiku poems.