Scent Culture Monitor

Scent Culture is a rapidly expanding aspect of contemporary culture, business and society as well as an exciting intellectual field: The air condition is increasingly made explicit. Yet, numerous oderiferous phenomena and their economic, cultural and social relevance have hardly been explored and remain under-theorized. In 2015, Scent Culture Monitor was launched to capture this multiplicity of developments.

Building the field

Posts labelled as Scent Culture News inform about new products, services, exhibitions, books or initiatives.

Scent Culture Comment & Review shares our observations, commentaries and reviews, reflects on broader contexts or introduces an anecdotal snapshot. Scent Culture Comment & Review is also a platform for revisiting icons in pop culture or cultural history from a scent culture point of view (e.g. the series Ferdinand &).

All in all, the Scent Culture Monitor follows an exploratory approach of highlighting and connecting fragmented themes, ideas, references, and projects that relate to the sense of smell in culture, business and society. Some of these have been out there for a long time, some have just appeared somewhere, and others may just be emerging on the fringes. Scent Culture Monitor brings attention to and legitimizes what might be regarded as negligible, irrelevant, or marginal.

Shaping the field

We want to be broad enough to be relatable to a range of stakeholders, but specific enough to be meaningful. Each post should contribute to the understanding of “scent culture”. Time and again we will make a pause and reflect on recurring themes, issues and concepts: What can we learn about our economy, culture and society? Are there business opportunities? How is our understanding of scent culture nuanced? We might then readjust the focus. One can call this an inductive approach. This is the reason why we do not start with a definition upfront.

Inspiring the field

We hope to inspire new initiatives that increase the exchange between domains, theory & practice. We are happy to share our experience, insights and ideas and welcome like-minded initiatives. As such, we hope that the blog can enable the development of collaborations that otherwise may hardly happen.

Inviting criticism & discussion

Our selection is open to criticism and we are grateful for all kinds of feedback. We cordially invite submissions and suggestions.

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Some recents posts:

Michel Serres: the philosopher of the senses R.I.P. (6/2/2019) - Michel Serres, the French philosopher, died yesterday.
Stop of controversial advertizing campaign: Renewing smell culture as taboo culture! (4/17/2019) - Hornbach is a Geman DIY store chain offering home improvement and do-it-yourself goods decided to stop and withdraw the recent campaign “The smell of spring” after being criticized for promoting racist and sexist stereotypes.
“Spring Air”: DIY retailer & the subculture of BO (4/2/2019) - Hornbach is a Geman DIY store chain offering home improvement and do-it-yourself goods. “The scent of spring” is the title of its most recent brand campaign:
Patrick Süskind at 70 (3/26/2019) - The history of the emergent field of scent culture has not been written yet. We are still in the midst of creating and shaping this new field. In terms of books that made all this possible very few books stand out. Patrick Süskind’s novel “The perfume” has been a point of reference in innumerable talks,...
The factory as an attractive multisensory workspace (2/13/2019) - “The results of this study cast serious doubt on the ideology of the machine-haters. Even in the American automobile industry, where technology is allegedly most dehumanizing, workers expected satisfaction in their work. The situation differed little in the less industrial countries; autoworkers preferred working to leisure, not out of a sense of duty or a...
Fragrant Christmas! (12/23/2018) - Oranges are native to China. In the late Middle Ages they were new to Europe. Andrea Mantegna was clearly aware of orange trees and their beautiful golden fruit when he created this fragrant image of the Holy Night, the Adoration of the Shepherds: The scene is set in an open space, with Mary in the...
Ferdinand & Smell culture studies (4) (12/20/2018) - The Story of Ferdinand (1936) is a much acclaimed classic children book written by American author Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. This post reveals the fragrant (and so far ignored) message of the plot.
Art Now! Lecture at Columbia College Chicago (11/2/2018) - Portraiture is known as a visual art genre. Yet, working with body odors has given rise to artistic works that explore new sensory territories. A lecture with Claus Noppeney at Columbia College in Chicago discussed this development: Can a smell represent a person? How is an olfactory portrait experienced in an art space? How relevant...
Macht & Duft: Politiker als Nase (10/10/2018) - In diesen Tagen vor der Landtagswahl in Bayern verdient der amtierende Ministerpräsidenten Markus Söder besondere Aufmerksamkeit. Dabei überrascht ein Portrait mit Bezügen in die Bildwelt des osmanischen Reiches: Was also verbindet Markus Söder mit einem Sultan?
Smelling outer space: “intimidating” (10/3/2018) - ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst has taken over the role of International Space Station commander from NASA astronaut Drew Feustel earlier today. This is a perfect opportunity to highlight his recent interview with Jan Böhmermann on how outer space smells.