Currently up at the San Diego Art Institute is a multi-artist exhibition, "San Diego at 100: Balboa Keeps Her Promise", curated by Ginger Shulick Porcella and a work created by Brian Goeltzenleuchter and myself combines graphic design, storytelling, and olfactory design to try and get people out to explore, or perhaps re-explore, Balboa Park in San Diego, CA. Something that I always shoot for in design is to make it possible for as many people to consume and enjoy the work, preferably giving them something to take with or come back to again and again. The graphic design part of the piece is a large, 20" x 24" map with a poster on the back. The map/poster is printed on 100lb stock to signal to users that it is not meant to be folded or discarded. Plus, the QR codes on the map house a verbal story representative of each location can persist as long as the poster, making it exist far beyond the exhibition.
So what's the point of the whole project? As I mentioned before Brian and I wanted to get people to re-explore the park, and look at familiar locations through the lens of how a specific spot is incredibly significant to someone's life, and that maybe the person listening into that story has a new perspective. Newcomers to the Park can immediately be engulfed in the legends surrounding the park, making them feel more "local", and giving them interesting stories to take back home with them to retell.
The scents come in at the exhibition site and are meant to give the participant, yet again, another perspective of the spot/story it represents. It helps the person listening to the story to better experience it through the storyteller's eyes. Scent plays such an important role in memory and nostalgia, thus storytelling.
Our project engages all the senses to build legends, and pass on stories of the park to enjoy for the next 100 years. And because this was a successful project that that actively engaged museum-goers, Brian and I hope to explore other parks and their local legends in multi-sensory ways.