The Science of Smell
Straddling the disciplines of art and science, Sissel Tolaas has travelled the globe collecting over 7,000 different smells, which she stores in her Berlin research laboratory. Along the way she has made cheese from the bacteria in David Beckham’s football boots, simulated the sweaty smell of fear, and recreated the scent of space as a training aid for NASA astronauts. Having avoided deodorant her entire life, Tolaas is on a quest to educate “the smell-blinded” by separating odours from visual stimulus. She has made scents that help people learn biology and has mapped out molecular smellscapes from Amman to Calcutta. When the wind blows, her nose becomes filled with a “symphony of music”, and she dreams of everyone being able to experience the same sensation. Tolaas believes that once we retrain our noses, we will be able to overcome society’s pre-conceptions of what smells good and bad. And if that happens, we’ll all be able to see everything from a new perspective… without even having to open our eyes.