Exploring scent as
a creative way of life


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Vision can no longer be employed simply to support verbal and conceptual meanings; its potential as a cognitive power in its own right must be exploited.

Gyorgy Kepes
designer & art theorist
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Kepes, G. (1965). Introduction. In G. Kepes (Ed.), Education of Vision (pp. i–vii). George Braziller. Kepes, G. (Ed.). (1965). Education of Vision. George Braziller, p. v.

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Language matters. Discourse matters. Culture matters. There is an important sense in which the only thing that does not seem to matter anymore is matter.

Karen Barad
physicist & feminist theorist
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Barad, K. (2003). Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter. Signs, 28(3), 801–831, p. 801.

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If olfaction were his most important sense, man’s linguistic incapacity to describe olfactory sensations would turn him into a creature tied to his environment. Because they are ephemeral, olfactory sensations can never provide a persistent stimulus of thought. Thus, the development of the sense of smell seems to be inversely related to the development of intelligence.

Alain Corbin
scholar of sensory studies
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Corbin, A. 1986 (1982). The foul and the fragrant: odor and the French social imagination. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, p. 6.

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We have a name for viewers and spectators, for listeners and audiences, but not for «sniffers» and public smelling: a performance of volatiles in a theatre or scent installations in a gallery or simply fragrances in a store.

Christophe Laudamiel
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Laudamiel, C. (2010). Perfumery—The Wizardy of Volatile Molecules. In A. Herrmann (Ed.), The Chemistry and Biology of Volatiles (pp. 291–305). Wiley, p. 296.

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The aesthetic experience seems to be shared without having to be explicit (discursively agreeing) about the experience of the perfume that is emerging. (…) agreeing through language seems irrelevant. Instead, agreement on a pre-linguistic sensual level is achieved, and this is what matters the most. (…) What seems relevant is that the sense of what this scent might become is transpersonally felt and agreed upon. (…) It suggests that perfumers may not be after the right «representation» of the scent into language, but may need to engage in these conversations more to verify that subjective experience of the scent (as «good» or «bad» «pleasing» or «disgusting») is collectively shared. We suggest that, whatever the words used and even in spite of a difference in what is being said, it is this aesthetic and affective experience that has to be reached individually and shared to create a collectively shared sense of direction. This sharing can be done through words (in spite of their limitation), but also in relation to emotions expressed, facial expression, gestures, etc. (…) a shared experience of the scent is key not only in materializing it, but also in moving forward the process of creating a perfume.

Nada Entrissat, Vivianne Sergi & Claus Noppeney
Source ↓

Endrissat, Sergi, & Noppeney (2019). Evaluative moments in scent making: Exploring «sensing and experiencing» as constitutive of organizing. 34th EGOS Colloquium, Tallinn, Estonia, Sub-theme 5: Organization as Communication: The enduring and fading away of organizations

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