United States of America
Mary Ellen Childs
Mary Ellen Childs is a composer and multi-sensory artist. Graduated in Music from the University of Minnesota and with a Master in Music from the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana, USA. She also has Scent/Olfactory studies among them in the Institute for Art and Olfaction in Los Angeles, USA and in the Institute for Perfumery in Grasse, France.
Mary Ellen is known for works that speak not only to the ears, but to the eyes, and even the nose. She creates distinctive sound worlds, and often writes for specific architecture or environments. In her recent years she has researched combining music and scent: the ear and the nose, creating an intimate experiences to further experiment with the interaction of the ear and nose interact. She often describe herself as ¨a composer interested in all the senses¨.
During her time at ´ace, she worked inspired and influenced by our printmaking workshop on how does what we smell affect how we hear, and how this can evoke powerful influence in how we inhabit our bodies and our history.
A composer at heart, from a young age I was also dancing and making dances, working in theater, and avidly interested in visual art and film. As a result, my musical thinking has always been infused with a multi-disciplinary approach. In addition to my concert music, I have many works that incorporate visual material or architecture or movement for the performers. Underlying all is a deep curiosity about how our senses interact.
In recent years I have researched combining music and scent: the ear and the nose. I have set up a scent lab in my composition studio, and created exploratory projects, including a series of scent dinners at my home. I am committed to researching projects wherever they may take me.
When writing a dance piece about Lake Superior, I lived in a cabin just feet from the shore of the great lake, watching the many moods of the water. To research an opera about the human urge to fly, I spent an adventurous week at a residency in Ottawa Canada, flying: piloting a small plane, hang gliding, and more. To research a work about the arctic, I was in residence aboard a Tall Ship, sailing through the fjords of Svalbard.
Mary Ellen Childs
1957 | Lafayette, USA.
Lives and works in Minneapolis, USA
2022 | DrumRoll installation, University Art Gallery, Kirksville, USA
2022 | Pauline (opera), Schiller House, Los Angeles, USA
2022 | GatherNYC, Museum of Arts & Design, New York, USA
2019 | Scent Songs, Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, St. Paul, USA
2015 | Chicago Architectural Biennial, Farnsworth House, Plano, USA
2021| Nocefresca Artist Residency, Sardinia, Italy
2021|Creative Resident, Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA
2019| Bogliasco Fellow, Bogliasco Foundation, Bogliasco, Italy
2018| Emily Harvey Foundation, Artist Residency, Venice, Italy
2016| Bellagio Center residency (Rockefeller Foundation), Lake Como, Italy
2021| Fromm Foundation commission, for There is a Humming, for OboeBass!
2021 | MAP Fund, for NORTH music installation
2015 | Knight Arts Challenge Award, Knight Foundation, Miami, USA
2011 | United States Artist Friends Fellow
2009| Creative Exploration Fund, Creative Capital, New York, USA
AROMUSIC stems from MaryEllen Childs long background as a composer interested in combining music with other art forms- movement or projections or dance or imagery. For this installation at Proyecto ´ace, she was influenced by the sounds of the print lab (the grind of the printer motor, the whoosh of the rollers, the tackiness link) as wells the smells – of ink, paper and blankets. The resulting installation is a deconstruction of the print lab itself.
ABOUT AROMUSIC by MaryEllen Childs
Aroma-music stems from my long background as a composer interested in combining music with other art forms – movement or projections or dance or imagery. Most recently I have been combining music with smells. I often describe myself as “a composer interested in all the senses,” and underlying all these works is a deep curiosity about how our senses interact.
For my works including smells, my overarching aim is to foster a nuanced understanding of how smell affects history, imagination, memory, and perception. By pairing smell with music/sound I am exploring how these two senses interact. How does what we hear affect what we smell? How does what we smell affect how we hear? Both can evoke powerful emotions, vivid memories, and visceral responses. Both can influence how we inhabit our bodies and our history, and therefore are critical vehicles for cultural and personal connection.
For my installation at Proyecto ‘ace, I was influenced by the sounds of the print lab (the grind of the printer motor, the whoosh of the rollers, the tackiness of ink) as well as the smells — of ink, paper, blanket. The resulting installation is a deconstruction of the print lab itself.
June 1st, 7pm. Políglota Room