Journey to Asclepion
Unison Arts, New Paltz, NY
site-based research | hydrosol | public event
Ancient Greeks made pilgrimages to the temple of Asclepion in search of physical and spiritual healing. At Unison Arts, I hoped to create a similar ritual by connecting visitors to the physical landscape.
In the sculpture garden at Unison Arts, a hickory tree stands at the edge of a wooded path that leads to a meadow. From beneath this tree, visitors were invited to blindly choose a hydrosol from an assortment of scents created from hickory and milkweed harvested on site. Each aromatic water acknowledged different ecologies specific to the environment. Using plants as a guide, participants walked the fields with misters to go on a personal scent journey. Parasols provided shade and also helped to capture and isolate the scents while wandering the grounds. As visitors traveled the local terrain, smell became a pathway into time, distance, memory, and healing.
This project was presented as part of the Unison Arts exhibition “What's Next” curated by Michael Asbill and his Collaborative Constructions class from SUNY New Paltz. The show was inspired by Linda Waintraub's book, What's Next?: Eco Materialism and Contemporary Art.