There are many reasons eager patrons hope to be admitted in the doors of Berlin’s infamous techno-utopia, Berghain. Obviously, there’s the music, the dancing, and the sweet satisfaction of making it inside the hardest club to get into in the world. But one artist went to Berghain with a goal we’re sure is unique to her and her alone.
35-year-old Isabel Lewis is a dancer, artist, and DJ. Now based in Berlin, the artist looked to the smells of the techno mecca for a new perfume.
“You can smell 30 years of partying coming from the downstairs, you’re smelling huge waves of smoke, you’re smelling the spilled alcohol on the floor, body sweat, hairspray, cheap cologne,” Lewis told i-D Magazine in an interview.
Lewis concocted her club-scented fragrance alongside Norwegian chemist and artist Sissel Tolaas, who operates a lab in Berlin. The two of them combined what they believed best mimicked Berghain’s pungent aroma. Lewis is using it in her “Occasion” event performances to “bring awareness back to your own sensory perception and thus your own body.” The use of smell is intended to engage Lewis’s audiences fully and physically in the moment. She doesn’t want viewers to merely watch her performances, or witness from a distance, she wants them to be involved in the energy of the room and to become part of the work.
“The strongest note is probably male body sweat,” Lewis said of the fragrance, “And it has these other notes of perfume, cologne, alcohol, burnt tobacco. It’s a very earthy, heavy, pungent smell. Pleasantness is not what we’re going for.”