Thursday, 11 August, 6-8pm

Opening hours

Wed- Fri 1-5pm, Sat 11am-3pm

Howser’s Law

Jan Uprichard

Ends 27 August 2011

Howser’s Law : “The primary personality trait of a given subject is directly determined by their reaction to a smell”. Dr.Douglas Houser In the novel ‘Perfume: The Story of a Murderer’ by the German writer Patrick Süskind, a perfume apprentice in 18th century France is in search of the perfect scent. Equipped with a genius sense and memory of smell, he finally succeeds to create a perfume, which causes orgies and adoration and – being irresistible- his own death.

Installation view

Sketch for project furniture

The artist Jan Uprichard is fascinated by smell as well. Not in the macabre way, more scientific, more in the role of a sociologist or urban anthropologist. In 2010 she invited people in her ‘Smell Association Denominator’ project, to contribute to an archive of smell associations. In practical tests, participants had to mix the smell of home, a clean smell and the smell of Belfast.
In Howser's Law, Jan Uprichard is making a re-presentation of the scientific research undertaken in the West coast of Ireland by a group of pioneering scientists lead by Dr. Douglas Houser in the mid- 1960s in the field of Olfaction. They discovered a formula which allowed them to determine the predominant personality traits of individuals by their reaction to a smell. However their work has never been fully recognized internationally due to the economic constraints and political agenda of the Irish government at that time. This lack of awareness on the international stage meant that through the passage of time the work of Dr. Howser and his team has been cast aside by history. In addition to this, much of the documentation of the groups’ work was lost to a fire in the storage warehouse of the Natural History Museum in the outskirts of Dublin in 1985.

In an attempt to redress this balance what is left of their work is being exhibited here. In addition, the visitor has the chance to take part in the experiment which proves Howser’s Law. This project has been realized with the generous help of The Natural History Museum, Dublin. Results Participant no: At this time your most dominant personality trait as determined by this experiment is: Installation view with display cabinets and booths for online personality test.