Applied semiotics is ultimately a creative act which helps to communicate and aim high. It involves sculpting one’s tools (frameworks) to make them fit for purpose and applying them correctly to a phenomena. The perfumer judges odors in terms of quality, intensity & duration of perceptibility (volatility). Scent is an entity. Communication of a scent requires the same effort of imagination needed for creation. In order to do this, some sort of power of imagination is required too.
There is probably a frustrated novelist inside many semioticians and once in this field one needs to know how to write, but more important – one needs to know how to read. Reading is a technique not only acquiring knowledge but also for sharpening insight and critical powers. Looking at and comparing the possible oppositions and similarities, reworks, copies and traces.
Semiotic work tends to be more akin to detective work. It requires a need to be provocative. Semiotic theory fragments work well as hooks upon which to hang one’s thinking. Being a “culture vulture” in this case is an advantage and pop culture knowledge is absolutely vital to survive.
The Main Characters or Our (Semiotic) Environment are:
SPEED = messages, responses, feedback, information, execution, rigor, chronicle
CLUTTER = ideas, content, books, music, events, choices, pattern detection
UNPREDICTABILITY = accountability, flexibility, constant changes
DISTRACTION = information overload, concentration, mindfulness
FRAGMENTATION = the niches, subcultures, the big picture, cultural sensitivity
IDEOLOGY = critical thinking, competing, changing ideologies
Now, when I washed away all the possible lipstick hues and revealed the “dirty way” of reading and analyzing the communication of a scent, I shall mention also the style, the taste... or let’s say the intuition. Our sense of smell is indisputably primal: a seat of powerful memory, a scent is an immediate recall and recognition. The most ancient part of our neuroanatomy, the archipallium – is our primitive reptilian brain. Hence – there’s no way to complete any perfume culture detective project or job without an intuition being involved. And one of the best definitions for intuition I found in the field of perfumery.
“Intuition is not a miracle; it is a flame which is sparked only if the necessary amounts of knowledge, experience, reflection, and meditation are available. Perfumery schooling calls for patience, attention, and perseverance.”
– Edmond Rodnitska