Sissel Tolaas, odor artist

She is one of my favorite artists. Ok, top 250.  She was in a show at the MIT List: Sensorium I: Embodied Experience, Technology, and Contemporary Art, where she painted the walls with white paint, and when you rubbed them you would smell different kinds of sweat. My favorite was the bourbon/cigar sweat. She put little sweat collectors under men’s armpits, then reproduced that smell in a lab, then mixed it into house paint. It is the closest I’ve ever gotten to feeling like I’m in Wonka’s chocolate factory. The schnozberries taste like real schnozberries!

Here she is in her lab in Berlin. Click the image for an article about her in the New York Times magazine.

I love it when people use smell in art. It’s the sense that is most closely connected with memory, but so overlooked.


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