Smells of Deep Time


“If the world is in all its beings, this means that every being is capable of radically transforming the world.” – Emanule Coccia
‘Smells of deep time’ is a project responding to our semester brief ‘Jelly Worlds’, where we, Design Investigations, partnered with Vienna’s Natural History Museum to imagine and speculate deep time and alternate evolutionary histories. The brief emerged from NHM’s desire to explore stories around the recently discovered Gabon fossils that suggest multicellular life existed 2 billion years ago.
What if Gabonionta, the earliest multicellular life forms known today, would not have become extinct? What types of relationships would they have started to foster? How would the environment have reacted to the Gabonionta‘s bodies and what would we learn from this species?
‘Smells of deep time’ tells the alternative folklore story of how Gabonionta, having evolved into aquatic beings, travel the seas of the world alone, longing to be reunited with one another. A young human and the Karamatake tree, a peculiar tree that dates back to the beginning of human times, help them in their quest utilising a smell so irresistible, it cannot be ignored: the smell of their childhood; the smell of deep time. Upon their reunification the Gabonionta have a unique and extraordinary sign of gratitude to share.


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