final sculptures

for the project are here on my website (and below)

my crystallized shoe-inserts from the 10 days of walking

i decided driving people to this blog instead of trying to label each day's scent with a poem or picture would be more in keeping with the project itself

since day 7 was such a popular scent, i think that is the one i will start marketing



on the week's work

this is one of the last places i spent time infiltrating the environment, ost cafe, and it was such a lovely space i wished i'd found it earlier!

i also walked, the last full day there, to prosperity dumpling in china town, the most delicious dumplings you'll have in nyc! worth every step of the the three-mile round-trip hike i did!!


new york day 10

today's performance was a short one on e 14th:
the walk from my front door to the taxi

so i shot a video of my molecular atmospheric interference on the way to the midtown tunnel 

east sun is rising 
leaving the muck and mire
welcome peach fuzz sky

the last fragrance smelled a little off in the bottle, but it's a nice lime citrus with a drop of the bbq fragrance (i think the tar color of the bbq ingredient is what drove many of these concoctions for new york) and on my skin it dried down to a jasmine floral



new york day 9

sweet melodies in responses to my scent, composed of a very heavy floral violet and smoky/spicy cade mixture. it sticks to me like molasses sweet hot tar

i spent time reading scandalabra by derrick brown, such a brilliant book of poetry, buy it right away if you don't own it. i had the privilege of seeing him read at a friends' salon in seal beach last spring, so entertaining in person

future crystallization project: the shoe inserts from my performance, scented with the gunk of the lower east side, the wealth of the meatpacking district, and the sparkle of chelsea

all we need in life, gunk, wealth, and sparkle


new york day 8

glorious giant 
a spiced voluptuary
 howling mystery

today i walked to union square and joined artist elizabeth demaray on her lichen for skyscrapers tour, combining my processional work with an educational afternoon

(she's on the bottom fire escape installing a lichen garden)

i ended up giving her the day #8 bottle of perfume since she liked it so much, a good trade for a baggie of her work

the perfume was a mix of green tea, lemon, and honeysuckle, sweet but a little tangy, with some vetiver to give it a little longer life

shot another video of me sitting in union square wearing perfume, affecting the molecular atmosphere around me, and overdubbed the audio from my walk

new york day 7

today's scent was suited to me personally, something spicy, with a sweet accent, whether it's floral, vanilla, or another smoky note. moving into the fall/winter i like a rich, layered fragrance. it's a stretch for me to try and personify a new smell each day, so this one just came more naturally

composed of black opium, cade, vanilla, and narcissus

i also decided to make a short film, while beginning to re-read the flaneur by edmund white

thinking about the blurred lines between perfume, prayer and poetry, i'm going to let the scent itself be the prayer today, a nod to what prayer, poetry and perfume can embody: passion, longing, unfulfilled desire, celebration, personal expression, memory

(and sorry this was published the next day, forgot to make it official!)


new york day 6

today's concoction was inspired by food. a mixture of herbs and food-based oils such as coriander, thyme, tomato, lemongrass, bbq, and vetiver for the base. as i was sitting and reading, someone was eating something with cinnamon, and as i smelled my perfume i was struck by the fact that that was the missing ingredient!


when will you come, walking with feet of silver
bearing the rainbow as a gift
to quench these parching fevers?

i spent time reading the songs of the seven senses by don blanding, who did the illustration to open the chapter on scent (part of the poem is from desert flowers). much of the book referenced hawaii, and it paired nicely with this email i got from a man who attended my mfa show about 6 months ago:

i am not aware of what musk by itself smells like. where can i get some? and also are you aware of the nice odors of maile leis and cherimoya flowers in bloom?

reminds me of some of the line of questioning in job:

Who can number the clouds in wisdom? or who can stay the bottles of heaven,
 When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together?


my project got a little mention here


new york day 5

i was thinking about this photo i took yesterday, and a translation system, the difficulty of mediation, of words having to describe or flesh out smells (or colors or forms for that matter, i'm reminded of the movie artemisia, where her teacher says, "we say too much in front of paintings")

so i decided to use the photo as a map for today's perfume

mostly citruses, a touch of floral, and vetiver 

and i loved the thought of a visual being a prayer too, a memory or a hope, and so i like the idea of that picture being the name, being the prayer, and taking the place of the words, knowing it doesn't always have to be this linguistic thing we partake in

i also love playing with scent and taste, so i tried a cantaloupe/chai popsicle and it was really wonderful in conjunction with the scent

after my performances i'm trying to make it through as many galleries during my off-times as i can take in one day, and went to a few today

i was struck by a show at the pace, titled social media, and penelope umbrio's work (she also uses craigslist, as i've done for a couple of other shows) and found a bunch of people having posted their tv for sale, and the reflections are very explicit! 

 one show i used craigslist for is coming up in reading, pa through billboard art projects:

saturday, october 22, 2011 from 12 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
location: route 222 and kutztown rd temple, pa 19560. See map

i found listings for people using their sense of smell in some fashion in their posting

i took their personal-screen digital declaration (most were in the personals), and am making it all the more public on the large-screen digital billboard:


new york day 4

last summer there were, 
there were days, 
there were days it wasn't safe to go outside
you look like you're strong
because if you're a guy you can smell the grave biscuits burning
the sweetened milky emulsion of the child ephemeral
we had hot weather in june, july
keep running
today i ended up having two extended conversations with men about my project, exposing them to #4 perfume, one came up when i happened to already be recording, so i just let it keep going, and he remarked about how new york is great in the summer if you like to look at women. probably how men feel in la all the time

the other was wondering if the table selling sundry items nearby was what smelled so good, he must have liked the honeysuckle, lemon blend i was wearing

i spent the rest of the day in chelsea galleries

my absolute favorite was at matthew marks, la carte d'apr├Ęs nature, curated by thomas demand (above), and i'm so disappointed the catalog was already sold out, but i found it online in french (my favorite speech in art school was when my professor took us on a tour of the library and said, "if you don't have time to read the book, just look at the pictures")

i also really loved matthew barney's work at gladstone, and so many people missed out on the pieces upstairs, which were incredible

i ended up using the leftovers from perfume #4 in the bath tonight which is one of my favorite ways to experience my art. in the air, in the steam, a light coating on the skin


with past work i have included a bibliography of what i was reading around the subject of pheromones and perfume

currently i'm reading a few books from which i will draw inspiration and i will utilize some of the text in my prayer/poems


Blanding, Don. Songs of the Seven Senses. Dodd, Mead and Company: New York, 1946.

Brown, Derrick C. Scandalabra: A Collection of Poetry and Prose by Derrick Brown. Write Bloody Publishing: Los Angeles, 2009.

Didion, Joan. A Book of Common Prayer: A Novel. Simon and Schuster: New York, 1977.

Kelly, Kevin. Bicycle Haiku. Bicycle Haiku copyright 2001. Kevin Kelly.www.kk.org. 

Merton, Thomas. Life and Holiness. Doubleday: New York, 1964.

Steinbeck, John. The Winter of Our Discontent. Bantam Books: New York, 1961.

White, Edmund. The Flaneur: A Stroll Through the Paradoxes of Paris. Bloomsbury: London, 2001.


new york day 3

today i wore a more fruity (pear) and floral (jasmine) scent with a dash again of cade (dark, smoky), and it seemed to get more attention for sure 

i did chose to spend some time in one of the churches on 14th today, to pray and to experience some of the ritual of people who spend time in that space on a daily, or weekly basis

then of course, by the end of my performance i walked by a man in short shorts yelling to a bus "jesus loves you! jesus loves you! and jesus loves you everybody on the bus! let's pray..."

fear of the dark is a protein sweethawt
dead metal hey gorgeous
fronds clatter hallucinating
no habla espanol boca grande?
you got a boyfriend?
i just wasted a block


new york day 2

today i walked down 14th street to the chelsea pier and sailed through the hudson bay wearing my day 2 perfume. since i had tried something kind of spicy yesterday, i went for a more natural and fresh scent today, partly to compliment the day's activities, although i'm always overpowered by the main ingredient: galbanum. every time i get this in my nostrils i have a hard time smelling anything else in the vicinity, and perhaps that is how my fellow pilgrims experienced my presence 

ok bugflower, 
sweet fern i will break no bones, 
who are you in there?


new york day 1

i wore a spicy scent made up of floral notes with pepper, cade, and gardenia. i was reacting partly to the smells of garbage from yesterdays walk, and the cumin from carts i was passing.  i wanted something next to my skin that would provide a wall against some of the foulness of the streets
i saw a woman physically reacting to a momentarily wafting stench in our subway car of rotten grass and skunk from the afternoon's rain

one thing i did notice about the city today is the reticence to make eye contact, at least for extended periods of time. i'm much more used to connecting with the people i pass by, so that is an adaptation i'm having to undertake. that is also affecting my ability to hear conversation, as many people stop speaking when passing strangers

i chose to make my first prayer more of a poem, from a recording i did in the subway under 14th

as i researched some of the text transcribed from my recording, it turned out to be a list of panagrams, so i reworked them

 five frozen sphinx my 
boxing love of jackdaws wives
jump wizards quick chop


here in new york!

just arrived this morning, and have been walking up and down 14th all day getting the feel for things

this is one side of the hudson i'm walking to, by the meatpacking district and alexander mcqueen's store

here's an image of one performance from tonight's opening festivities


smells in new york

for some of my previous study in scent i found this great project on mapping new york by smell

from what i gather i'll be kind of around the bowery area, with scents of "hard-to-place perfume," which i will hopefully be contributing to

i've been utilizing a few different maps in addition to jason logan's who wrote the article


this one, in addition to my google maps image

i believe i'll also be traversing mid-town with "sporty perfume" and west village with "italian cologne, chaps and bourbon"

i'll have to concoct recipes to compliment or create dissonance
i continue to run into people who have purchased my previous projects and have fallen in love with smelling, and smelling like, an art piece i created. kind of a great compliment

i also thought i'd include an image of a previously-boraxed garment

this was my fall 2009 skirt


press release

Julia Barbee
Portland, OR

Julia Barbee
Before/After Scenting New York
October 1-10, 2011
14th St. New York, NY

Portland-based artist, Julia Barbee, is pleased to announce her inclusion in Art in Odd Places 2011: RITUAL.  Art in Odd Places (AiOP) is an annual festival that presents visual and performance art in public spaces along 14th Street in Manhattan, NYC from Avenue C to the Hudson River each October.  Art in Odd Places (AiOP) aims to present art that stretches the boundaries of communication in the public realm by presenting artworks in all disciplines outside the confines of traditional public space regulations.  AiOP reminds us that public spaces function as the epicenter for diverse social interactions and the unfettered exchange of ideas. www.artinoddplaces.org

Julia Barbee recently received her MFA from California State University Long Beach.  Exploring the sense of smell through creation and performance using perfume, she states she is examining the contrast between the visible, the ephemeral, the auditory—and the temporal marks of identity. Motivated by the duality of attraction/repulsion she use scent on her body as the platform for molecular experimentation, quasi-anthropological study, and sculptural performance resulting in visceral, non-representational self-portraiture.

Barbee sees her work as largely invisible; much like graffiti, scents go where they are uninvited, and change the molecular structure of their surrounding environments, along with whoever inhabits those spaces.  She will be performing with her site-specific perfumes along East and West 14th Street in New York, along with dozens of other performance and installation artists during the first week of October.  Her blog about the experience, which will include pictures and recordings during the week, can be found at beforeafterscentingnewyork.blogspot.com.

Art in Odd Places is Guest curated by Kalia Brooks, MoCADA Director of Exhibitions and Trinidad Fombella, El Museo Del Barrio Exhibitions Manager/Assistant Curator. Festival Producer, Lucia Warck Meister. Founder/Director, Ed Woodham. 



i'm excited to have found a couple of kindred spirits in the scent exploration game

and as i think more about scent in my own work, it does have a great relationship to graffiti, i had been thinking already about architecture and scent, the idea of creating walls with unwanted aromas (animal urine mixed with squid ink as deterrent and protection against predators)

and i love the idea of my perfume being like physical graffiti in the brain of a viewer. powerful potential while walking the streets of new york and disseminating my work

the idea that i'm also collecting a solemn request, or expression of gratitude (prayer as defined by oxford english dictionary) from some recipients makes it an exchange, hopefully, resulting in some form of amelioration 


interacting with architecture

i just had a piece installed in the chain letter show at shoshana wayne gallery, in santa monica

i definitely have been erring on the side of subtlety with scents lately

and actually this reminds me of a show in culver city from last year, called the human powered show

i debuted of one of my favorite scents to date, vice, composed mainly of tobacco, chocolate and coffee, by pouring it down the wall


condensed description

getting some things ready for the show, i wrote a more condensed description, and shot a few images for it, practicing walking on the street with perfume on

A single garment will be worn for the duration of a performance, in which I will daily wear separate perfumes, while walking 14th Street, affecting the molecular atmosphere by my presence, between the banks of the West and East Hudson River. During these routine walks I will collect language from literature, pop culture, and conversation on the street.  Based on historical relationships between prayer, perfume and poetry, I will compose a litany to be the title for each site-specific perfume.  Finally, the garment worn during the performance will be crystallized in a solution preserving its use, but abstracting its form.



bus stop 2

looking down from my window at the bus stop i hover over, and i saw this image

and the same man who "wanted it all" in his last prayer was giving a speech about how people die: some people jump off bridges

it kind of made me stop, and wonder, and pray in fact


salinger's view of prayer

i've been reading raise high the roof beam, carpenters and seymour an introduction by jd salinger and found this quote that totally relates a little to my ideas of the sacred and profane, and many things being prayer:

i feel your censure on all his god-damns. that seems off to me. what is it but a low form of prayer when he or les or anybody else god-damns everything? i can't believe god recognizes any form of blasphemy. it's a prissy word invented by the clergy (pg 154).



i just moved into a new studio.

i'm directly on a train track, and am excited to see how this will inform my translation of cities, landscapes, form, into scent

it's good practice for exploration of place and architecture, thinking about going to new york. but first, i have a sculptural installation in tacoma, washington to work on


bus stop

i just moved into a little apartment above a bus stop, and it's becoming good practice for eavesdropping on conversation (as many people down there are not talking to anyone physically present) and it's leading to that conclusion i drew with this proposal--we're often praying and we don't know it

i saw a friend yesterday and was talking about this concept, and he said he'd heard that prayer was just begging, and that god was an adult's imaginary friend

the man's prayer this morning who i was overhearing was simply this: 

i want it all!!!!



still unpacking from my move last week, but here are the sites you can be checking up through the festival!


sculptural performance art

this is a site i will be updating during the performance from october 1-10th, 2011 during art in odd places in new york city.  i will be chronicling some of the developments as i go.

my work centers on the contrast between the visible, the ephemeral, the auditory—and the temporal marks of identity.  i characterize my practice as sculptural performance art.  i use my body as the purveyor of scent, and i collect language based upon the environment the scent creates, both in its transient presence on my body, and in its molecular interaction with the architecture and people present.  from these transactions, come visceral, non-representational self-portraits composed from text, object, and scent

here's my proposal:

For my proposed project I will be wearing a single garment for the duration of a performance, in which I will develop separate perfumes to perform with each day of the festival while walking 14th Street between the banks of the West and East Hudson River.  During these walks I will collect language from literature, pop culture, and conversation on the street, culminating in text poems and fragrances composed as reactions to each day's experiences.  In addition, the garment worn during the performance will be crystallized in a solution preserving its use, but abstracting its form.  One geographical and historical location I would like to include in my daily walk is St. Mark’s Bowery, as I consider the need for ritual, and the logical rhythm that their Friday noonday prayer service inspired in my routine of walking.  As I think about how rhythm and routine work into life, prayer seems a logical place to go, and perfume is often referred to in literature as both poetry and prayer.  The connections are loose enough to be open, but bound enough to fall into ritual.  I am interested in documenting through the text I collect those phrases, which I will take from culture and define as prayer, whether directly referential, or someone swearing on the street.  I know my own personal rituals and prayer are sacred and profane often simultaneously. 
            The documentation of the performance will be in the form of marks made on my garment.  Wearing a single dress for the duration of the performance I will collect both the physical marks, but also the atmosphere of my experience.  Furthermore, the perfumes will mark the spaces I pass by molecularly entering the atmosphere leaving an ephemeral trail behind me each day, and I will further document my experience at the end of the day by composing the fragrance I will perform with the next day, based upon the previous one.  By the end of the performance I will have a collection of perfumes from each day of the festival, poems composed as text-based responses, and the dress, which I will crystallize and render abstract, as a non-representational form of self-portraiture.
            Since the project takes place on my body in a set environment, the installation/de-installation and maintenance are simply based upon my own body’s energy and endurance.  

For more information on my practice please visit my website: