PERFUME AREA

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FUME, “FLWR”

A flower floats in the springtime. It sings about robots and airflow. You open your mouth to taste the flower, but it’s not time yet: a soft powder fizzles into a glitch on your tongue leaving a circular blotch like staring at the sun for a moment too long.

The air tastes like a song. “A song is information in motion,” the air whispers in your ear. “I don’t mind being tasted, but the flower sure does. You should wait.”

You meet the flower again at dusk. Now it sings about Flonase™ and open formats. But something is off, and you close your mouth tightly. (You do the same thing when the street sweeper drives by and kicks particles up into the air.) Can tiny poop from a cyborg puppy really smell this toxic? The adorable dumpster gobbles down this evening’s doggy bag.


Does a mysterious flower produce a mysterious fruit?

The morning sun illuminates a forbidden fruit: The kind of pollen-dusted fruit that makes your mouth itchy, but you eat it anyway. A glistening droplet of syrupy juice, heavy with the burden of its sillage, hangs from the fruit. It stretches its single limb longer and longer, as though it were sustaining a fermata. When it finally lands, it lands on the piano. The “A” key will be sticky for a century at least.

An interview with the flower held at the Sanitation Department yields fascinating new knowledge. The flower, white and docile, enjoys floating in the air while singing about robots, Flonase™, and open formats. It plays the piano in its spare time. Sometimes, after playing for the whole day, it becomes tired, heavy, and poopy, melting into a cute but poisonous pudding that plops onto the floor.

View FLWR on FUME Parfum ↗

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FUME, “POOL”

Puddles in the conservatory. Your keyboard is solar-powered, water-resistant, and safe for use in the splash zone. Invisible tones hang in the air as you enter the first name of your first kiss, the middle name of your second pet, and the last name of your third grade teacher. You wipe your hands on the towel enveloping approximately 60% water and 45 SPF. The towel follows the downward motion of your hands and falls to the ground into a particularly deep puddle. Printed on this towel is an impression of a penguin covered in oil. As the image absorbs more of the pool, it transforms. The outcome of metamorphose: a common ant milking an aphid for its honeydew. You foam at the mouth.

Puddles in the asylum. Bugs as usual. You are sorry you didn't fix them yet, you were asleep in Cambodia. The mosquitoes were drinking cucumber gas all night long. Their tears of happiness are now pearls dropping to the floor, every hundredth bursts into water from the fountain of youth, every thousandth into silver mercury. The window collects dripping milky white latex, the rubber trees bleeding again in the typhoon outside. Do milk, mercury, and water mix well? Your computer says they do. You hope to have the bugs fixed soon. When your boss wakes everything will be back to normal.

Puddles in the hallway. Nurses in jungle green uniforms slowly administer anesthesia to those still awake. This hospital specializes in tropical diseases, and everyone (including your boss!) will be better soon. Mosquito nets come in many different colors, but you notice green, blue, and red are the most popular here. It’s noon now, but it is dark outside. It is raining in the rainforest. These patients are patient. You hallucinate penguins. You have never been so at peace in a place of passage.

View POOL on FUME Parfum ↗

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Ficus Interfaith, “Wysteriasway”

Perfect hay, perfect housefly, perfect horse, perfect owner, perfect hair (on owner, horse, and housefly), perfect stable, perfect barn, perfect countryside out the window, perfect summer to fall transition. Everything is perfect enough to freeze and render into miniature forever. A dried diorama can be educational for centuries.

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Comme des Garçons, “Laurel”

You are alive on the forest floor. A falcon dropped you here among the dead leaves. When no one is looking, tiny fires send the leaf particles back into the crisp mountain air.

A small deer finds you on the forest floor. Its eyes are big and dark, globular worlds. The deer opens its mouth to sample the crisp mountain air, now full of leaf particles. A glistening droplet of deer drool falls in slow motion ten times onto your forehead. It hits and burns a little hole into your brain, but it’s not so bad. Respighi’s Pines of Rome celebrates its arrival.

A tiny crack in your life like antiseptic fizzles on a dead bug, causing a little forest fire. Stravinsky’s firebird rises from the ashes. The deer discovers the forest floor is buoyant and jumps.

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Parfumerie Generale, “Grand Siecle Intense Eau de Parfum”

Welcome to the theater. It is full of people waiting for the show to start. Please note that two large screens on either side of the stage are turned off right now.

The curtain is rising. There are two thrones at extreme ends of the stage—one on the left, one on the right! In each baroque-style gold-leafed 6 ft.-high-chair is sitting one adult born 30 years ago. Yes, today is their 30th birthday! On the screens you can see each one’s face in zoomed-in detail. Wow, they are smiling at each other. And now the curtain is closing.

The curtain is rising again. Now there is a tall pedestal at dead center stage. On top of the pedestal is a miniature ancient city revolving slowly, as if it is for sale or something. Under the spotlight, one of the gold-leafed spires of a church in this tiny city is managing to glimmer despite being caked with what appear to be thousands of spider webs. Every detail is seen magnified with three complete spins. The curtain is now closing.

The curtain is rising, and there are ten children on stage, each wearing gold antennae, frozen in various dance-like positions. The monitors reveal the children are still breathing and not actually dead. And… from out of what appears to be nowhere… two children (without antennae) are now pulling a wheeled carriage onto the stage! And the children with the antennae… they are… yes, they are boarding! And now the door is closing, and it’s off! Off they go! Wow. And the curtain is closing again.

There is applause.

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SANAA, “Translucence”

Riding in as a snowflake, you are an alien descending from heaven. “The architecture looks okay” you think as you collect each landmark with your frozen eyes. “If only architecture could be more like snow,” you pine, admiring your body’s unique shape on the surface of a nearby raindrop.

A saccharin zephyr shuttles you through the air, first slow and then faster and faster towards Earth. Before you know it you are there. Gingerly aligning your crystalline body parallel to the surface of green jello, you see your twin reflection one last time before sticking onto the quietly jiggling plane. “Wow,” you remark looking upwards at the sky, “you look beautiful tonight.”

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10 Corso Como, “10 Corso Como”

Earth’s oldest mall is under excavation. It’s location is a secret. Yet a rogue archaeologist is documenting her exploration of the ruins for a select YouTube audience. From her artifact-ridden videos we see storefronts that once hawked precious metals, spices, and graphic tees. Carved limestone dragged great distances form a spectacular arcade, in which massage chairs and kiosks occur at regular intervals. One was a Piercing Pagoda, another sold stone tablet covers. Where the food court and main promenade converge is an obelisk which still emits a weird smell. Painted on the megalith with cochineal dye are glyphs that translate to Perfume Area. Research suggests this site is the lost origin of the word perfumeria. Some scholars even believe it to be the true primordial umbilicus mundi. And others insist on the presence of such a monument as proof of extraterrestrial contact.


Etat Libre d'Orange, “Tom of Finland”

The dizzying effect of amyl nitrite and aldehydes does not help with the fact that you are trapped in a vanilla cage on a rotating pedestal, attempting to open a vault. The contents are in plain view as the locked chamber is made of clear matter, which only makes you want it more. What’s the prize inside? A heavy, molded-latex, dog-shaped hood, liberally dusted with talc to keep from sticking to itself in storage.

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Kinski, “KINSKI”

What is it like to wear Under Armour under armor? Ask Aguirre, wrath of the health goths.

(Deep in the mangrove jungle, a suit of armor reclines against the buttress of an enormous kapok tree. Skunky vapor escapes through the perforated visor, the jointed gauntlets, and at the seams of the cuirass [painstakingly embossed with an alien and the words take me to your dealer]. Even the tapered sabaton toes emit blissed-out, white tendrils. A capybara investigates this curious anachronism. Upon closer inspection, the armor is simply filled with smoke, and nothing more.)

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Diptyque, “L'Ombre dans l'Eau”

United towards a single goal, thousands of clementine droplets—splattered across cement and open toes—float into a formless mesh sack, and self-assemble into juicy orbs. The sack, now filled with over 1500% of the recommended dosage for vitamin C, lifts upward with a robust heave. Floating above stainless witnesses, bound on a steep vertical trajectory past atmosphere and ozone, the fully-formed citrus settles on a conveyor belt that transcends space and time. Carried through the Kunlun mountains, it has a legendary encounter with the Golden Mother of the Shining Lake, who returns the fruits to a tree in an infinite orchard shared with the peaches of immortality.

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