These collages are “shattered” images of snuff bottles that have been saturated with various perfume molecules to imagine what the contents might have smelled like.
Snuff bottles, made from glass, enamel, porcelain and semi precious stone were developed by artisans around the mid 16th-18th century when Jésuit missionaries and European traders brought snuff into China. Snuff, derived from the Dutch word snuftabak, was a combination of powdered tobacco and other aromatic spices and herbs inhaled vigorously through the nose— both the bottle and its contents became symbols of status with the merchant and elite classes. Tobacco, originally from the Americas, was stolen from its context of ceremony and gift giving within Indigenous and Métis communities through colonization and implicated as an economic commodity.
The images, bootlegged from the Christie’s auction house website, are continuously duplicated, resized then printed on A3 paper. This multiplication and degradation, in addition to shattering and fragmenting, are creative and conceptual methodologies used to “break away” and disavow the dominance of the image to imagine otherwise through smell, a sense degraded by the ocularcentrism of European Enlightment period philosophers.