Against the Scentless: Returning the Sense of Smell to the Arts

Thought Catalog


“…The arts world of the 21st century should take these innovations as a challenge to make resonant new works incorporating aromas, and not allow these tools to simply become devices for social grooming and more effective product placement. Designers of luxury fragrances have understood for decades how scent can seduce others into believing in the idealized image of the wearer, a persuasive project that still seems to be waiting for a concerted critical response from the arts. Modern art has held up a mirror to the science of seduction many times before, with visual and audio montage works cutting up and reconfiguring the atoms of information in order to identify those areas where a stage-managed reality was being allowed to pass itself off as universal truth. The same can, and should, happen again with scent before the trail goes cold.”

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