Mixed media, three sweat collectors (200 x 200 x 50 cm), and an interactive smell and screening centre (250 x 200 x 50 cm)


The following project attempts to create a synaesthetic bridge between the visual and the olfactory modality. The user is given the opportunity to test his or her ability to recognise three individuals by smell rather than by visual or audible stimuli.


Three dancers each perform inside a sweat collector allowing the researchers to sample sweat and individual scent. Each dancer is painted entirely in body paint – cyan, yellow, and magenta respectively. The performance with the three dancers is recorded on video. The video is recorded in such a way that the arrangement of the dancers within the frame results in varying compositions of colour. The scent is concentrated, produced and additionally enhanced, possibly with scents of personal affects and memories. 


Three inkjet printer cartridges are emptied and refilled with the liquid odour according to the three body colours. The scent of each performer can now be printed onto paper, resulting in an “olfactory image”. In addition, pure samples are filled into perfume tubes enabling users to learn the smell of each performer.


The user can watch the recorded video of the performance but only in black and white. It shows each dancer in the same shade of grey so that the body colour of the dancers is not indicated. The video can be paused allowing the user to print a still image of the chosen frame – albeit only in smell. The user is then asked to rate the relative dominance of the smells of the dancers by comparing the printed olfactory image and the black and white still image on the screen. The user is then presented with an evaluation of his or her olfactory performance and can compare it in relation to others who have also done the test.


Fact Box

November 18, 2013