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 undertheorized.

Building the field

The Scent Culture Monitor wants to capture this multiplicity of developments. Posts inform about new products, services or initiatives. Thus, the posts from the old Scent Culture News site have also recently been imported to this section of our presence. Other posts share our observations and commentaries,  reflect on broader contexts or introduce an anecdotal snapshot.

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 News 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. Please get in touch with us!

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Some recents posts:


ArtBasel 2018: Wake up and smell the… (6/15/2018) - Art Basel offers a premier platform for renowned artists and galleries. The 49th edition brings together about 290 galleries from 35 countries and opened earlier this week. In fact, “art is now absolutely a consumer product, and that’s the huge difference. It’s a whole different world”, as Paula Cooper recently noted in the New York Times.  Paula...
“The future will be like perfume” (5/15/2018) - Brian Eno altered the course of both pop and experimental music. He is now 70 years old. After leaving Roxy Music in 1973, he went on to become one of the most widely extolled producers of the late 20th century. He’s also become a legendary solo artist in his own right and has lately found a...
“Scent Culturalizing” the end of an industrial era (4/25/2018) - Germany will shut down its remaining black coal mines by the end of this year. This plan seals the fate of the sector that powered the country’s industrial revolution and post-war economic miracle. Since its early beginnings in the early 1970s this fundamental shift has had widespread implications the former industrial heartland of Germany. Given...
Rotten eggs on the road? (4/14/2018) - A car is a means of transportation. This is obvious. What is less obvious however is that the car shows specific sensory or even olfactory qualities: A car uses smelly petrol or diesel. Driving a car even turns the vehicle into an openair-design machine. At the end of the day emissions scent the environment. On...
A sociology of smell (4/11/2018) - Smell is in the nose of the smeller, but also in the culture of the smeller. – Antony Synnott
Designing products for a new scent culture (3/28/2018) - The ongoing normalization of ambient scent creates a growing need for diffusers. In most cases diffusers convey some distinct atmosphere: it might be somehow esoteric or rather technical. But there are very few products we have seen so far that seem to resonate with current design culture.
When will there be a professor for olfaction & space? And where? (3/25/2018) - The University of Applied Sciences & Arts Hildesheim is looking for a new professor for “light & space” for its department of lighting design.  Reflecting on the olfactory turn we slightly rewrote the official job opening: 
Odorama on car smells at Mediamatic (3/22/2018) - We have been looking at cars as “olfactory artifact” for quite a while. In fact, the  automobile sector is part of a larger interest in the aesthetic and experience economy.
Scents beyond conventional perfumery (3/19/2018) - There is a long lasting history of dealing with scent in pop music. More recently, Jeans for Jesus, a widely known player in the local pop music scene in Switzerland, made an interesting move:
Smelly theory of private property (3/10/2018) - The genesis of private property has been a recurring theme in political philosophy since ancient times. In his essays on the five senses the French philosopher Michel Serres proposes a “smelly theory of private property”: