04.10.2018 – 14.02.2019
Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design

Mediamatic Amsterdam
Smell Lab Berlin

Klara Ravat

Prof. Christian Zöllner
Artistic Associate Amelie Goldfuß
Lena Beigel
Lara Bousch Moyu Cao
Cleo Dölling
Julia Ernst
Katarina Kagioglidis
Thekla Liebmann
Marie-Luise Möller
Laura Pelizarri
Justus Pfeifer
Elena Rotman
Chunxiao Shi

We dealt with olfactory stimuli and their relation with physical and visual design. Together we studied the creation of scents, discovered players and works of the ol­factory design scene on excursions and de­veloped our own positions in the field. In sessions and workshops, we discovered methods to creatively and aesthetically approach intangible and elusive sensuali­ties.
Olfactory artist Klara Ravat visited us for a couple of days in Halle where she taught us a lot about smell.
After the kick­-of workshop we took a trip to Amster­dam where we were so lucky as to attend two major events in the olfactory universe in two days.
In a workshop called Scen­tify, the students were asked to translate or accompany films, music or other time­ based media into or with an olfactory ex­perience.

The first evening in Amsterdam we spend at the beautifully located Mediamatic, an art centre dedicated to new developments in the arts focusing on nature, biotechnology and art+science. Amy Toner introduced us to the cultural history of scent, femininity and feminism followed by an olfactory performance. Oliver Haller, head of the costume department of the national ballet in Amsterdam shared some stories about the special challenges that arise when various artists share one costume and spoke about different ways and high tech possibilities to eliminate odours. Frank Bloem retold the story of Jorg Hempenius and Caro Verbeek recreating the smell of the Dutch football team’s locker room after the victory at the world cup in 1988. 

We spent the second evening at the Stedelijk Museum where olfactory art historian Caro Verbeek led us through the programme. Olfactory Artist Peter de Cupere showed his work and shared some very interesting scents with the audience.
Piet Devos connected the multisensory experiments of the historical avant-garde with the contemporary interest in disability aesthetics.
Jorg Hempenius a.k.a. Scentman complemented the event as Aroma Jockey.

At the presentation of the scentify workshop guests could nose-walk through an oasis in the middle of a desert, visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, examine smell guns from outer space or expe­rience multi-­sensory performances.

Cleo Döllings project deals with the sensory perception of scents. Three experimental and delicate scent instruments are triggering poetic gestures. Those gestures involving the hands, fingers and the face are intended to increase the conscious perception of scent. The fans allow the experience of the variety and diversity of scents in their own unique quality. The scent bells contain an already mixed composition, which characterises the scent families. Finally, the olfactory magnifier and intensifier allows the exploration of synthetic fragrances on the skin and the neutralization of the sense of smell after intensive smelling. The objects are mainly made of porcelain, wood, paper and 3D-printed polylactide.

In order to make synthetic fragrances graspable in the literal sense, Katerina Kagioglidis used the data sets of scent molecules. She transformed the description of the odour of the individual molecules into three-dimensional objects by means of parameters. The respective form is defined by a Scent Pyramid developed in the project, from which the description of the scents can be derived. Three-dimensional bodies consisting of two parts were generated from twelve synthetic scents. Their intersecting surfaces result from the data of their mass spectrometry and thus the measured mass of the molecules. It gives us the opportunity to smell scents and to grasp them sensitively with our hands. In this way we succeed in making the intangible tangible.

Vaii is a set of olfactory tableware. As a central element of relish, scent is more than a small part of a menu, it can be an entire side course or serve as aperitif. The vessels by Lena Beigel are inspired by a cloche and defined by elements and materials of their particular usage, such as metal and paper. The glass components with wooden lids keep the scent inside until the act of inhaling and scenting begins. Vaii invites people to enjoy smelling together, to get in touch and start a conversation.

The Scentarium installation by Laura Pelizzari connects collective and personal memories, emotions, identity and travels through time. With every breath, we inhale olfactory information. We can easily and unexpectedly find ourselves in the days of our childhood just by smelling a certain scent. Only through the sense of smell it is possible to recreate spontaneous almost forgotten memories in particularly high intensity. The Scentarium is a walk-in archive and serves as a portal to our biography and emotions. This is done by a total of twenty different smells. They are inside of porcelain drops hanging in a net. You are invited to explore the Scentarium and to go on a journey through your own history.