All those who have found comfort in another’s scent know that fragrance is a primal medium. It cuts a straight path to our limbic system, circumventing our intellect to retrieve our memories and influence our emotions.
Carta is an endeavor to bottle the olfactory memories of the places we love much in the same way emotional memories are recorded in song.
Carta presents a conceptual piece:
We don’t know what Mars smells like, but we can expect it will be unlike Earth. What we can’t expect are the consequences, if any, the absence of our planet’s familiar bouquet could have on our psyches. Life on Mars will be full of unknowns such as these, but fragrances could serve as balms to help us to endure. Root and Kin were designed to remedy two specific challenges.
—of rain falling on fresh soil, warmed by the Sun. Designed to soothe the homesickness felt in the absence of Mother Earth’s smell.
—our origin as animals. Designed to restore vitality by reminding us of the strength of humanity to thrive despite all obstacles.
These two perfumes were conceived and created as part of a collaboration between Cosma Schema and Carta. Cosma Schema is a visualization and strategy agency dedicated to furthering humankind’s movement toward the cosmos.
The dream for CARTA first came to Heather D'Angelo (of the band Au Revoir Simone) while collecting botanical samples from the Malaysian rainforest as part of her research at Columbia University. With CARTA, D'Angelo draws upon her instincts as a musician to infer the artistry of perfume. Music and perfume composition are each a kind of spirit craft; both bridge the intersubjective space between composer and listener, perfumer and nose.
Scent allows D'Angelo to map the complex personal narrative of a specific locale: a recitation of heat rising from the ground after a rainstorm, a sketch of spices moored in the wind, a confession of night-blooming flowers. This process has revealed that musical composition has no stronger analogue than the creation of perfume.