“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
Umberto Eco, the Italian cultural theorist and novelist who became the author of best-selling novels, notably the blockbuster medieval mystery “The Name of the Rose,” died last week in Milan. Eco was a contributor to our thinking on scent culture.