Monday, March 25, 2024

Algorithm This: A Math of the Senses

Untitled (c.1980) ©Paulina Peavey Estate / Andrew Eldin Gallery, NYC

A Math of the Senses 
by Michelle Krell Kydd

"It’s through sound that we enter the works, and that we travel across time." —Pascale Bodet, critic and filmmaker, on The Seventh Walk (Saatvin Sair) a film by Amit Dutta (2013) 


Substitute another sense in place of “sound”. 



Consider the counterintuitive. 

For this is a math of the senses. 

Begin with the end in mind, the end of the quote. 

Traveling across time a is metaphor for recollecting.  

And smell is memory's sense.  

Ah, but who and what shapes memories?  

To answer this you become a fortune teller. 

A teller of tales. 

Are you ready?

Let's begin. 

Ask your family, your friends, the ancestors, the deity. 

The artists, plants, insects, animals. 

Sun, moon, stars, the planets. 

The movement of molecules and the diasporic. 

The inhalations and exhalations of everyday life.  

What is dream, what is truth? 


The eyes are open and shut for both. 

Smell, however, is always open.  

From the first breath to the last.  

Return to the original question. 

Sound closes shop at our ending.

Just before the breath stops.

A mortal proof. 

Derive conclusion accordingly.

Notes & Curiosities:

Poem to be read out loud while smelling a 3% dilution of mitti attar during the April 8, 2024 solar eclipse. Listen if you wish to see. Smell if you wish to remember.

Introductory quote at the start of "A Math of the Senses" is from an article titled "In the Ship of Amit Dutta" on The Seventh Art, a blog by film critic and translator Srikanth Srinivasan.