“I like to think that every perfumer considers his or her work an art, and that a desire to create constitutes the motives for his work, because the perfumer is the first to appreciate the emotional investment he or she has put into the project. Unless freely chosen, collaborations with other perfumers can only do the utmost harm to a project.” – JEAN-CLAUDE ELLENA

Perfume-making – without a doubt – is a creative practice. Yet, our understanding of creativity is often limited. We basically think about the outstanding achievements of a creative genius without exploring the practices and strategies that underlie their creative solutions.

This talk opens the blackbox of creativity: It will focus on empirical data from case study research in the niche perfume industry, and outline the aesthetic and sensual practices that enable creative solutions in perfume-making.

New Materialism is a growing movement rooted in neo-disciplines such as gender studies or science & technology studies. It challenges contemporary discourse as Karen Barad points out: “Language matters. Discourse matters. Culture matters. There is an important sense in which the only thing that does not seem to matter anymore is matter.”

“Smell is, with its storing and retrieving characteristics, an associative and expansive rather than an distributive and limiting sensory mode. The lack of terminological paradigms as they exist for colors necessitates linguistic detour through the metaphoric, that is a breach of reference level in the text each time we attempt to describe smells adjectivally. The same holds true for the common reference to smells in terms of their origins. “It smells like” or “the smell of” expresses relations of combination and contiguity rather than of selection and similarity. These two points may serve as a preliminary explanation of why the sense of smell is so often considered the most apt to trigger memory. Its very linguistic structure brings up an Other, a reference to the outside.” – HANS RINDISBACHER