The olfactory dimension of automobility is the core theme of a recent essay by Claus Noppeney published in “Das Magazin” a weekly supplement to several Swiss newspapers. The essay covers the wider culture and ecology of the vehicle: Is there a new business opportunity for olfactory nostalgia? At least there is reason to believe that the smells and an entire ecology of objects & artifacts are going to be extinct within a generation. The essay links the core theme to some recent developments in the urban smellscape at Zurich and argues that the upcoming initiative Züri-autofrei also creates an opportunity for a multisensory development of the city.
Following the publication a few days ago there have been some interesting follow up emails and discussions: What is the olfactory dimension of oldtimer festivals and culture? What role did the switch to unleaded gas play? Thanks a lot for feed back, contrarian views or other material! Thanks a lot also to Armin Chodzinski, Katie Puckrik, Klaus Singer, Caro Verbeek & Andreas Wilhelm for the helpful exchange when writing this essay.
But what is the link to this eccentric gentleman on the picture?
It is a portrait of Henry Cyril Paget, a memorable guy who died at the age of 29 in 1905. He was known for an eccentric lifestyle. And among many other aspects he also despised car exhaust fumes: Disgusting! But he even went a step beyond his affects and transformed the exhaust pipe of his car into a “perfume cannon”. Thus, he is truly the inventor of ambient scenting. His car became the first air care device.
Here is a pdf of the essay (click on picture):