Scent of Time

Synopsis: Raised by her protective mother by the Black Sea, a recent political crisis has forced 12-year-old Vlada to leave home and move with a mysterious family friend in a peripheral city in Europe. Typically, her lifeworld, immersed in the metaverse as an upcoming XR performance talent, and that of ‘A’ rarely intersect. Yet, sensing the necessity, A begins to teach her how to protect herself by outsmarting systems she is part of – particularly those which exist outside of the protection of either her mother or by stable societal institutions.

Scent of Time (29min, 2022) is a fiction film and hybrid dance performance diving into the topics of exile, shifting worldviews and awakening self-determination. The narrative takes place partly in the protagonist’s subconscious mind in which her different experiences and dilemmas are expressed from an embodied perspective through dance. The visual narration of the work is centered around a large ‘incense clock’ which mirrors her journey in an alternative space-time known as the ‘liminal realm’.

The project’s name is derived from the book with the same title by South Korean-born Swiss-German philosopher Byung-Chul Han. In a series of essays, he contrasts East-Asian incense-based time-keeping methods with the Western clock to re-value contemplative time against the pressure of being consumed by the concept of work. Scent of Time explores ways to broaden his approach in order to create a liminal space of reflection - taking distance not only from 'work' under contemporary capitalism, but from any kind of value paradigm that has the power to consume us.

Scent of Time build on the multi-year worldbuilding research umbrella ‘Zhouwei Network’, driven as the research duo Liminal Vision together with cultural historian Victor Evink. It premiered in a dedicated exhibition at Bologna Art City 2022 curated by Felice Moramarco, accompanied by performative lectures by Liminal Vision, Anna Engelhardt and Lily Markaki, as well as a hybrid performance by Polina Hordiievska (2009, Odessa).



Process feature on Contemporary Attitude

Screening on Home Cinema

Feature on Moving Body festival

Performance feature on ZERO magazine

Screening and talk, Dutch Design Week 2022


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Digital, 4K/UHD