In his latest work, Tor Seidel builds on his interest in soap as an object of information and particularly looks at is as a data set for considering the populations of the United Arab Emirates. In his piece, Spectrum 1, he gathered 156 kinds of soap that are available in the country and transformed them, changing the shape, color, and smell of the different varieties through a process of shredding, melting, and casting them into identical molds. He designed a questionnaire and tracked people’s responses to the varieties, creating a qualitative data set to coincide with the quantitative characteristics such as chemical-olfactory composition, origin, and distribution. The commercial identifiers have been lost and each soap-ingot is transformed into a kind of blueprint full of data to be read collectively across the full spectrum of soaps through their own imperfections and surface texture that developed through the identical molding process. They read as a type of visual archive of the memory and personal ritual through an everyday medium that is tied to the personal experience of cleansing.


In Scent Fields, 10 casted soap bars are stored in a cabinet in compartments. The visitor opens the cabinet door and experiences its scent and the memories it triggers of rooms, experiences, people, stories, or feelings. The absence becomes the presence, the intangible experience, bridging time and distance. These have been particularly crafted blending the scents of separate experiences documented in the questionnaire. They become complex scent compositions that are collective memories rather than those tied to a specific individual.


"Spectrum 1", 2018

156 transformed soaps poured as ingots into a soap plate, 124 x 240 x 10 cm

"Scent Fields: The unrealistic world or the beautiful things that are under the sea”,

10 soap ingots with fragrance, cabinet, wood, each ingots 12 x 23 x 3 cm, 145 x 45 x 100 cm

10 Text sheets A3 according to the order of soaps in "Scent fields..."