Smell Your Destiny, 1995


View original Smell Your Destiny via Sonya Rapoport’s website

Smell Your Destiny, Rapoport’s second Web Art project, posits that traits historically considered undesirable are now in demand. For example, aggressiveness and competitiveness were once considered negative traits when displayed by women, but now such traits are seen as a key to success in the corporate environment.

Rapoport proposed that these new values and traits might be administered to a population by means of aromatherapy. Pharmaceutical pills containing the desired traits would be fed to fish that would give off a “stink” that would be inhaled by members of a given society, transmitting the traits.

This piece displayed Rapoport’s love of wordplay. For instance, the names of the pills given to the fish were puns of over-the-counter products, i.e. “No-mor-fussing” for Robitussin, “Re-Lax” for Ex-Lax, “My-Thrill” for NyQuil, etc.

In 2010, Rapoport published FISH OR FOUL: The World Cup 2010, appropriating Smell Your Destiny to assess soccer players’ personalities using traits found in marine animals.