The Observatories


The Observatories asked: What techniques make us feel those fight-or-flight or must-buy-it-now urges? It also demonstrated how easy it is to manipulate people through subconscious smell. In standalone structures in the centre of Milton Keynes, audiences were confronted with two rooms, each identical, completely white, and containing a large bowl with a glossy black interior. People were asked to move through the rooms whilst thinking about how they were feeling. On the way out, they completed a short questionnaire. Each day, we added a subliminal smell – designed to affect the physiology of the visitors – to the second room. After collecting 1,200 responses, we confirmed that certain scents changed how people felt, but they did not know why.


2010 British Science Festival

2009 TRANSLATIONS, Midsummer Hall, Milton Keynes, UK


2011 Northern Art and Sciences Conference, UK


Commissioned by FringeMK


Collaboration with Ryan Pink. Thanks to Sally Annett