Artistic research is an increasingly popular term to conceptualize research activities in the world of art & design universities. The concept highlights the epistemic aspects of artistic practices. Accordingly, certain artistic practices are driven by questions and aim at generating knowledge. Iconic cases from art & design history (e.g. Bauhaus) show that at least some artistic practices have been related to knowledge practices througout history. Thus, it might even be more a matter of terminology and explicit framing of that is a more recent phenomenon. In any case, our research project originates from the rich experience with design & artistic research at Bern University of the Arts. This is the reason why artistic & design research have been an essential pillar from the very beginning. As such the Swiss novelist and acclaimed author Tim Krohn was a member of the research team.
Tim Krohn’s literary approach complemented the empirical work of the social scientists. In fact, he used the scents developed by Christophe Laudamiel & Christoph Hornetz as a source of inspiration for a set of short stories. The stories were published in the fanzine “Ode #1: Scentual Perception”. Sebastian Fischenich was in charge of the concept and creative direction. ODE was awarded the Red Dot Award: Communication Design.
Conceptually, ODE is a magazine that honors the cultural treasure that is perfume. Centered on perfumes and pictures, ODE gives space to associative images that reflect on fragrance, aesthetically and thematically. The publication is a discourse on the ambivalence between scent – something immaterial and impalpable – and its concrete representation: What associations does a favorite fragrance awaken in people who generate or work with images of one sort or another on a daily basis. To get some answers, the ODE team invited 33 professionals, among them designers, art dealers, a dancer, a chef, a pastry chef, models and musicians, to submit a picture and a short statement expressing a memory or inspiration related to a beloved fragrance. Each “personal perfume” is thus delivered from its fleeting olfactory existence and immortalized in an associative visual image: the universal vocabulary of symbolism and imagery makes fragrance visible and accessible to others.
The visual content in ODE is complemented by essays on the subject of scent and image, inspiration and association, by writer and neurologist Dr. Jens Petersen (author of the novel ‘Die Haushälterin’, winner of the prestigious Ingeborg Bachmann Prize 2009, and regular contributor to major broadsheets ‘Die Zeit’ and the ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’, et al) and research professor Dr. Claus Noppeney (head of the ongoing project ‘Wissensduft’ at the Bern University of the Arts). In addition, acclaimed author Tim Krohn (‘Vrenelis Gärtli’, ‘Ans Meer’, ‘Irinas Buch der leichtfertigen Liebe’, et al) personifies eight perfumes in short narrative texts.
A click on the image takes you to the short stories (German & English):