Visual representations of smell are one of the core themes of our presence on Instagram: Wheel, circle, and pie have recently appeared as recurring and influential visual metaphors. The fragrance wheel created by Michael Edwards is perhaps the most prominent example these days. But the history of visualizations demonstrates that this is only one example out of many. The visual metaphor of the circle or the wheel has been used to classify urine smells. The colour, smell, and even taste of urine was used to both identify particular illnesses and provide patient prognoses, from Hippocrates to the Victorian era. The practice, called uroscopy or uromancy, was, according to the Doctor’s Review, “once the number-one way to diagnose disease — and predict the future”.
Michael Müller, best known as a sculptor, shows in his recent exhibition at the Berlin based gallery Thomas Schulte a series of small sculptures taking the form of perfumes, soaps etc. The perfume contains a drop of the artist’s sweat as Michael Müller remarks in an interview:
The Times recently reported that a schoolgirl died after being overcome by fumes from her deodorant while on a family holiday:
Wool-blend tees are promoted for keeping your outdoor stink-free as Wired reported:
Scent has so far remained largely sidelined into the context of the eighteenth-century novel. Reading Smell by Emily Friedman and published in 2016 provides models for how to incorporate olfactory knowledge into new readings of the literary form central to our understanding of the eighteenth century and modernity in general: the novel.
Do you remember the commercials that promote deodorants and openly appeal to sexist phantasies? Women are drawn in hordes to any male who has sprayed himself liberally with the deodorant – the “Axe effect”. The commercials have been known as the world’s sexist advertising campaign for many years.
The upcoming exhibition at Kunstverein Wolfsburg explores the links between body & smell: Sex smells! Recent works by Julia Barbee, Peter de Cupere, Sarah Schoenfeld and Clara Ursitti are presented.
If you want to be a good leader you have to learn how to talk about smell. But why? This post covers some recent work on coping with smell in leadership.