You enter a nearly empty room and discover a white gramophone with a large horn attached. Surrounding it are several boxes filled with discs; each disc is encased in an elegantly designed white slipcover, which only notes, in the simplest terms, what it contains. These are not music discs but olfactory landscapes. You have entered the world of Scent Echoed by sensory illusionist Jeanette Andrews, an immersive performance work in which the audience chooses scented environments that transport them through the past, present, and future.
Drawing upon years of research into scent-based illusions, Andrews seeks to elicit and transform personal memories and stories, synesthetic and extrasensory perception, and deeply-embedded concepts of time and place. Scent Echoed subverts the traditional ‘magic’ narrative and explores what is perhaps the most emotional and overlooked of the senses.
During her residency, Andrews will engineer the sensory machine, rehearse in the HCL studio, and prepare the evening-length performance work Sensory Illusion Studio for performances in museums, galleries, and schools. The work will also be supported with documentation and public performances.
Jeanette Andrews is a contemporary illusionist and artist who specializes in creating interactive sensory illusions. Combining a lifetime of craft with influences not typically seen in magic performances such as interactive performance art, immersive theater, quantum physics, and philosophy, she has forged a unique take on this ancient art form.
Her work centers on creating sensory illusions that reveal the dynamic process of perception. She explores how illusions construct reality and highlights astonishing aspects of everyday life through moments of psychological impossibilities. Andrews’ vision is to bring back the prestige of illusion as a high art form, and modernizing historic magic illusions by having them performed by the viewers themselves.
A fascination with sensory perception led Andrews to be named a 2014 Escape to Create artist-in-residence. There, she developed Thresholds, an immersive performance of sensory illusions. In 2016, the work was presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to a standing-room-only crowd.
Andrews has given over 850 performances across the United States at museums, theaters, and universities, amongst others, and lectures across the U.S. on the nature of illusions. She specializes in working with arts organizations—including the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Chicago History Museum—commissions from The City of Seaside, FL, and an upcoming piece for Chicago Loop Alliance.
Illusion is Ms. Andrews’ life’s work and her performances have been praised by PBS, The Daily Mail, the Chicago Tribune, and Newcity. Her work is far more intellectual than pulling a rabbit out of a hat: Andrews uses sensory anomalies and scientific oddities to bridge everyday life to a special, heightened world.