A sensor and spray mechanism lays hidden behind one of the paintings in an exhibition. When viewers try to take a closer look at the seemingly innocent painting, they are sprayed with an unpleasant smell.
The World Health Organisation approved the spraying of insecticides in aircraft cabins in order to try to prevent crop-ruining insects from immigrating between countries. Toxins from insecticides can build up in the body and have a cumulative health effect over time.
Ways of spraying insecticides varies within different airlines. With the airline that I fly with most between London and my home it’s often announced prior that flight attendants will bring insecticides out and spray while they walk down the aisle. People with allergies or respiratory conditions are advised to hold their breath and close their eyes during the spraying. Even though the whole process is uncomfortable, on the airline I frequent, the passengers are at least warned beforehand. Most other airlines dispense the insecticides into the air conditioner system without giving the passengers’ any notice.
To raise the issue in a gallery setting, five paintings were set up in an exhibition space and a spray with sensor hidden behind the last one of the paintings that the viewers would come across. The black curtain in front of the spray turns the spray setup into a human processing machine. This installation examined people as an object by giving participants experiences of various spaces. It functions as a gallery, an aircraft and a machine at the same time.
Several cameras are also placed in the installation to remind the audience that they are constantly being watched, just as how passengers are being watched in airports.