In the context of the Y Think Tank at Tongji University in Shanghai, this workshop provided the opportunity to experience the ephemeral materiality of scents and smells and to reflect of its cultural and economic relevance.
On the 19th of September, Claus Noppeney and Ashraf Osman of SCI conducted a class for the Signaletik CAS program (context building), part of the Signaletik MAS (Environmental Information Design) at the Bern University of the Arts, under the supervision of Jimmy Schmid.
Explore the old town of Bern by nose: How does Bern smell today? What stories do the fragrant and the foul smells in the city tell? How does smell permeate life in the city?
The Urban Scent Walk explores the old town of Bern as a smellscape and an olfactory exhibition: informative, discursive, performative. The guided walk opens up unfamiliar facets in spaces of everyday life. The Situationists spoke of “dérive”, meaning the exploration of cities by wandering through varied environments: natural scents, cloying designer fragrances, fresh site-specific interventions, and cosmetic urban smells.
Odors are hardly ever specifically noted, although they interact with each breath: in a direct manner, volatile molecules produce the moods that characterize the atmosphere of the city. “Smells make it possible to identify locations and to identify with places,” says the philosopher Gernot Böhme. In other words, the nose brings experience that the eyes, mouth and ears are shut out of.