Symrise, a global leader in fine fragrance innovation and creation, is proud to announce it’s scent production sponsorship of the first scented virtual reality film to be presented at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival, TREEHUGGER: Wawona.
Produced by Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF), with scent technology and production by Sensable Technologies LLC, and scent score and design/creation by Invisible Media & Entertainment, using scent provided by Symrise created by perfumer Patricia Bilodeau, TREEHUGGER: Wawona reveals the secret life of the giant sequoia and never-before-seen inner workings of the world’s largest tree. The short, scented, 3D film uniquely illustrates the sequoia’s immense scale and questions our relationship with the natural world at a time of crisis and change (Running time: 6.5-7 minutes per person/experience).
A collaboration with researchers at London’s Natural History Museum and Salford University, TREEHUGGER takes as its subject a giant sequoia from the Sequoia National Park in Califor- nia, USA. ‘Wawona’ is the local Native American word for ‘hoot of an owl’, mimicking the sound of the Northern Spotted Owl believed to be the tree’s spiritual guardian. Sonic artist Mileece I’ Anson used her custom-built hardware and software to capture and sonify bio-signals within the tree, forming a soundscape which represents the tree’s vascular system. She created an exter- nal, binaural soundscape built by layering audio recordings of birds, insects, amphibians, wind and rain.
To begin ‘seeing’ from a tree’s perspective, you must first put on a VR headset and a Subpac, a haptic vest which heightens the tactile dimension of the experience. You are then transformed into the forest, standing in front of the biggest tree you have ever seen. Rain starts to fall. The water soaks into the soil – if you put your head close to the ground you can see the water get- ting pulled into the root system. At this stage the droplets have a bluer hue. As they stay in the tree, they redden, taking on the hues of the tree. An interactive scent score by Sensable’s In- visible Media & Entertainment evokes the scent of rain on the forest floor, the upsurge of min- erals as nutrients are sucked into the roots, the tree’s bark as it responds to your touch and pulls you into its camphorous interior. Transpiration begins, the process by which water is car- ried from root to leaf. You flow with the movement of the water, getting sucked up in the sap- wood, towards the canopy. Time accelerates. Day turns to night. The tree’s inner systems slow down, then speed-up, as day breaks again. Around you flow thousands of brightly-colored splines, channeling the water into the great web of branches stretching out around you. You keep heading up, into the pine needles of the canopy where you are released into the at- mosphere, airborne. You see your breath as CO2. You exhale redder, warmer particles, while the oxygen from the tree, is a cooler blue.
This is the just the beginning. MLF plans to create a virtual forest of rare and endangered trees from across the world. This archive of digital fossils is in- tended to act both as an ecosystem where people will be able to connect with the natural world, and as a tool to assist conservation. And as the technology develops, so will the Treehugger experience. It will be possible to ana- lyze brain function, to simulate touch and smell. As senses are hacked, the horizons of our world extend accordingly, bringing us ever closer, revealing ever more, of a world previously un- knowable.
Stewart Matthew, Head of Sensable / Invisible comments, “Our sense of smell informs every- thing we perceive and feel about our world. Our technologies and approach to scenting will fur- ther imprint TREEHUGGER, so that the audience’s memory of it will remain as strong and vivid as originally experienced.”
Achim Daub, President, Scent & Care, Symrise, states, “As a global leader in innovative scent creation, Symrise is proud to sponsor the first virtual reality film to integrate scent. Like other leading edge technologies, virtual reality will be one of the game-changers of our industry.”
Symrise Perfumer Patricia Bilodeau adds, “As a perfumer, it was so interesting to work on a project where the fragrance is actually brought to life by an entirely new medium – virtual reality. I was so inspired by the look and feel of this video, and the challenge to capture the scent of the trees, air, rain, and more in a realistic, of-the-moment way.”
About Symrise: Symrise is a global supplier of fragrances, flavorings, cosmetic base materials and substances as well as functional ingredients. Its clients include manufacturers of perfumes, cosmetics, food and beverages, the pharmaceutical industry and producers of nutritional sup- plements and pet food.
With sales of more than € 2.9 billion in 2016, Symrise is among the global leaders in the market for flavors and fragrances. Headquartered in Holzminden, Germany, the Group is represented in over 40 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Asia, the United States and Latin America.
Symrise works with its clients to develop new ideas and market-ready concepts for products that form an indispensable part of everyday life. Economic success and corporate responsibility are inextricably linked as part of this process. Symrise – always inspiring more…
About Marshmallow Laser Feast (MLF): Treehugger is the brainchild of Marshmallow Laser Feast, a London based experiential studio working at the intersection of technology, art and sci- ence. Always looking to create experiences that immerse and amaze in unexpected ways – they employ a wealth of creative disciplines, from photo-real virtual reality to robotic performance and realtime mapping to push boundaries, redefine expectations and excite audiences worldwide.
About Sensable Technologies / Invisible Media & Entertainment: Sensable is a California company developing disruptive fragrance delivery technologies, including the world’s first wear- able, rapid switching and high capacity scent microtechnology for virtual or augmented reality. Invisible, its creative division, expands the possibilities of storytelling using scent in productions as wide ranging as videogames, films, documentaries, live events, promotions and fashion.
Sensable / Invisible is headed up by Stewart Matthew, the creator, writer and director of the world’s first ScentOpera held at the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao. In addition to Matthew, Sensable’s co-founders are Professor Sungho Jin and Dr. Calvin Gardner. Invisi- ble’s Head of Scent Design is Raymond Matts, noted for his work in the creation of fine fra- grances such as Clinique Happy, Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds, Brioni Cologne, among others.