How do you see scents?

The ephemeral materiality of scent eludes the conventions of visual representation. Instead, the specific sensory qualities of the sense of smell remind us of the many constraints of our snapshot society. Thus, one of the more recent projects initiated by Scent Culture Institute is an open collection of visual material that addresses the visual challenges of scent culture: How are scents rendered visual? This is the unterlying question of the insights (e.g. images, scetches, logos, posters, ads, snapshots, clips and pictures etc.) that we share on Instagram. How do you see scents?

Join us at the Scent Culture Club!

Do cultural activities have to be centered on sight or sound? Is it possible to have meaningful cultural experiences that focus on smell? The sense of smell has long been disregarded as one of the lower senses. More recently, however, the cultural and social relevance of the sense of smell is increasingly recognized. A growing number of projects show how scent and olfaction are increasingly the focus of cultural studies, art and design practices, as well as research.

The Scent Culture Club is a collective hub for people interested in the sense of smell in culture, business and society. It offers group activities that explore this new relevant and topical theme while meeting new people. The activities examine the cultural significance and potentials of scent in contemporary life through workshops, readings, discussions, and talks with perfumers, researchers, and scholars; as well as cultural productions, urban interventions, and trips in and around the city of Zurich.

Are you in the Zurich area? Are you interested in exploring the sense of smell in culture, business and society? Then join us at the Scent Culture Club! Please get in touch:



Partnering with the Art and Olfaction Awards

The 2014 Art and Olfaction Awards initiated by the Institute for Art and Olfaction (IAO) in 2013 have been a major step for the development of artistic perfumery. For its second round, the Los Angeles based institute has teamed up with the research group on scent culture at Bern University of Applied Sciences. Last summer the research team worked with IAO to create the application forms, to modify the judging parameters, and to gather some crucial information about the participants. Right now the research is closely following the judging process to gain deeper insight into scent-related sense-making processes. The collected data is being analyzed in the context of the SNF research project, New Scents in Action: Socio-materiality and sense-making in perfumery. Moreover this research aims at a deeper understanding of the field of perfumery: How is this field organized? What are drivers for further development? And how can the Art and Olfaction Award nurture the field? The data is collected through observations, interviews and questionnaires. Results will be made available in publications and at industry events in 2015. A first presentation will be at the upcoming Esxence in Milano. On this occasion Saskia Wilson-Brown, founder of the Institute for Art and Olfaction, will also present the finalists of this year’s award.