February 8-20 2021 pssquared.org 

This project was adapted as the Covid restrictions changed during the research and preparation time. Instead of a physical installation which visitors would have been able to encounter, the artist reshaped the concept to the 'traditional' media form of a printed publication with inserted samples of 'perfume and other fragrance products'; a refreshing format after the online overload, easy to be picked up or posted and read and enjoyed at home, touching paper, turning pages.

- PS Squared


'The ‘default’ aesthetic - a term coined by Etienne Cliquet in the early 00s – describes the appearance of information on a computer without an added layer of ‘design’. In the language of computing, “by default” refers to the parameters that are defined in the moment between a program being launched and before a user is able to modify it or make changes. “At start-up, the display is initialized by default.” The world wide web, mainstream social media platforms, Adobe CS, Mac OS X, Windows, etc, are wrapped in membranes of design that provide a narrow set of outcomes that are ultimately predicted before you turn your devices on.

Grappling with these parameters and their relationship to 'neutrality', HARDCORE VANILLA RAIN presents a series of paintings, photographs, drawings, writing fragments, and screenshots in publication form, accompanied by vials of perfume and other fragrance products. After Cliquet, the flavour-and-fragrance component of vanilla and/or vanillin as the material embodiment of 'default-ness' provides an entry point for thinking about obedience, alienation, consumption, and experiences of pleasure in Mehigan’s digital work.

Arriving as long black pods, vanilla was introduced to Europe from Mexico in the 1500s. The flat-leaved vanilla orchid (vanilla planifolia) will not bear fruit when grown outside of Mexico, requiring artificial pollination by hand. This refusal is unintentionally sweet.