Hongi is the name of the traditional form of greeting among the Māori tribe in New Zealand: Two people press noses to each other and inhale one another’s breath. Due to the current coronavirus outbreak it has recently been banned.
“Face-to-face interaction penetrates in a gaseous form into our most intimate inner being. The current Coronavirus outbreak surfaces a forgotten concept of communication that is deeply ingrained in culture: Face-to-face communication is a miasmic intercourse.”
– CLAUS NOPPENEY
«Amuse-bouche. The Taste of Art» is the third art experiment at Museum Tinguely in Basel, 19 February – 17 May 2020, entering the world of the human senses.
“The scent of empires: Chanel Nº 5 and Red Moscow” is the title of a new book by the noted German historian of Eastern Europe Karl Schlögel.
The sense of smell can be an instrument of political protest as this current example shows. An investor wants to re-use a former site of terror in Moscow for a perfume store.
“If olfaction were his most important sense, man’s linguistic incapacity to describe olfactory sensations would turn him into a creature tied to his environment. Because they are ephemeral, olfactory sensations can never provide a persistent stimulus of thought. Thus the development of the sense of smell seems to be inversely related to the development of intelligence.” – ALAIN CORBIN
“Our eyes are not easy to fool. Smelling is another matter.” – LEWIS THOMAS
“Sometimes at parties I slip away to the bathroom just to see what colognes they’ve got. I never […]
“The only qualification I have is a school certificate I was awarded at thirteen … I am self taught and have become who I am through encounters with people and individuals and, of course, with their work. ” – JEAN-CLAUDE ELLENA
“Smells are not decodable. Nor can they be inventoried, for no inventory of them can have either a beginning or an end. They ‘inform’ only about the most fundamental realities, about life and death, and they are pan of no significant dichotomies except perhaps that between life beginning and life ending. There is no pathway here other than the direct one between the receiving centre and the perimeter of its range – no pathway other than the nose and the scent themselves. Somewhere between information and the direct stimulation of a brutal response, the sense of smell had its glory days when animality still predominated over ‘culture’, rationality and education – before these factors, combined with a thoroughly cleansed space, brought about the complete atrophy of smell. One can’t help feeling, though, that to carry around an atrophied organ which still claims its due must be somewhat pathogenic.” – HENRI LEFEVBRE
27 January is the day for everyone to remember the millions of people killed in the Holocaust, Nazi Persecution and in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. The Holocaust Memorial Day 2020 marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. On this day I take the liberty to share a few lines I recently discovered in a book by Marcus Smith.
“Odors are at once evocative and suggestive, redolent with significance.” ION M. LEWIS
“So we thought an odor couldn’t hurt” – MARTIN KIPPENBERGER
“An everlasting fragrance is a paradox.” – THEODOR W. ADORNO
“White privilege is not just ‘in the head.’ It also is ‘in’ the nose that smells, the back, neck, and other muscles that imperceptibly tighten with anxiety, and the eyes that see some but not all physical differences as significant.” – SHANNON SULLIVAN