When your work as an artist is mostly inspired by your Sensory-Somatic System, having highly developed senses comes to a great advantage. From all the senses, the vomeronasal sense is perhaps the most acute and influential of all my senses. Even when surrounded by the breathtaking visuals of the fall transition into winter at the mountains, it was the sultriness of the soil and the scent of the stillness of the menacing snow what evoked the deepest of my sensory-somatic memories.
During an exploratory trip to New York City in the spring of 2013, I attended a physical theater performance at La MaMa’s main stage. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the company's nor the production’s name but, I remember the driving force of the show: a man’s fight to overcome a gender identity struggle.
The audience was sitting on chairs along the two long sides of the stage at the same level of the performers. The show was engaging and the performers powerful and inspiring. It was half way into the show when I experienced what I would call a “total immersion”, a "sensory-somatic connection” with the lead performer at levels far beyond the performers' intentions.
As the lead male performer/dancer eloquently expressed his character’s torment with a series of very physical and explosive dances, he began to sweat profusely, saturating the theater with his intoxicating scent. Every time he ran past me, his penetrating scent awakened my most "primordial instincts" which allowed me to feel his pain, taste the sweat streaming down his face and body and, smell the fear emanating from his groin, armpits and body hair.
After regaining “consciousness", trying to collect my “thoughts”, I reflected on both the theatrical reality we were being presented with and, the show’s proposal … is there such a thing as a “masculine” scent? Could any “rational” inference we the audience could reach from the show’s proposal possibly defy the bold statement being made by this male actor’s powerful dissenting scent?