Swiss Hill of Singapore

Creating the scent at Givaudan Singapore

Creating the scent at Givaudan Singapore

In July and August 2018, I was invited by ICA-LASALLE Singapore to take part in an art laboratory exploring the fifth senses. Working in direct collaboration with Givaudan, the world's largest company in the flavor and fragrance industries, I developed a unique scent called “Swiss Hill of Singapore”. This biofiction is a portrait. Of a land whose identity and history has been rewritten through ownership. A bubble world made out of nostalgia and humidity, created by expatriated traders looking for kinship.

“ The Swiss Club was established in 1871. It is one of the oldest, historical Clubs in Singapore. Located on Bukit Tinggi, it is an elegant retreat surrounded by lush greenery, offering a fabulous panorama of the vigour and freshness of nature, all drenched in light.” Swiss association Singapore

“ In June 1901 the club received notice that their premises, occupied for the past 30 years, was actually sitting illegally on land belonging to a Chinese landowner. This led to its search for another parcel of land which was found at Bukit Tinggi - comprising some 46 acres and sited on the slopes of a hill. The Swiss Club then abandoned the first clubhouse and moved to its present location in what is known today as Bukit Timah. The Swiss Club's land today spans a total of 174,000sqm. It provides a home not only for the Swiss Club, but also the Swiss, the German, the Dutch and the Korean Schools, the British Club and the Institute of Engineers. In addition, the entire Swiss Embassy compound is situated on Swiss Club land.” Sports in Singapore

The research project includes the development of a scent, archival research and visualisations. It will be finalised in an object between a publication and a scent box.

Maquette of the hill and layout of the different components of the scent

Maquette of the hill and layout of the different components of the scent

“A home away from home

Fresh mountain air is commodified on site but can also be compressed, bottled and sold online.

“High mountains are a feeling” [1] while smell can be a rarefied, esoteric experience.

Is our vocabulary able to describe the fifth sense?

Tigers no longer infest Bukit Timah. Wilderness has been contained.

Different names once referred to those slopes: Hill of the Temak Trees, High Hill, Ghost Hill, or even Monte

Rosa. [2] Collective heritage is curated. Memory is edited.

Side narratives. Shifted geographies. Forgotten layers of time have rendered the landscape.

A place where “the grass was greener, the light was brighter, when friends surrounded”. [3]

Land has been claimed and forms have been infused with a different identity.

The smell of a place. Crisp and humid.

Memory and imagination as smell.”

[1] Lord Byron Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (Canto 3, stanza 72)

[2] Monte Rosa is the second highest mountain in the Alps (Western Europe)

[3] Pink Floyd, High Hopes, in The Division Bell albuS

The scent and the text accompanying the display

The scent and the text accompanying the display