Sunday, 4 November 2018

olfactory bulb

Via Marginal Revolution, we are introduced to artist Sissel Tolaas celebrates the olfactory when the world becomes estrangingly deodorised, enshrining everything that’s visceral and memorable about the often derided sense of smell.
Her brave and unabashed landscapes perfumed with perhaps what we’d as soon forget create a odour distinctive to time and place and craft a unique narrative with each waft—telegraphing specific characteristics that rather defy digitalisation and the usual heraldic shorthand, though our sensibilities seem to shy away from confronting the vulgar without detergent. Tolaas has even crafted a compliment of vials containing bespoke smells never smelt before to break in case of an event that one wants to create an indelible memory for. It’s assuredly a good thing that we must needs be present for the perception that is most immediate and unmitigated to the brain (though whole industries are devoted to building those barriers) and to perform witchcraft, chemistry and biology, unable to elevate ourselves above the miasma that was formerly blamed for all maladies.