Monday, February 23, 2009


Smell has been until recently a neglected sense. The current low status of smell is a result of the revaluation of the senses by philosophers and scientists of the 18th and 19th centuries. (from The Smell Report by Kate Fox, Social Issues Research Centre). Smell was considered lower order, primitive, savage and bestial. Smell is the one sense where control is lost, each intake of breath sends loaded air molecules over the receptors in the nose and in turn potentially gutteral, uncensored information to the brain. At the same time our bodies are emitting, loading the air around us and effecting others in ways we are only now starting to understand. This project explores the human experiential potential of the sense of smell, applying contemporary scientific research in a range of domestic and social contexts.

Dating and genetic compatibility:
For the Amazonian Desana marriage is only allowed between individuals with different odours. (same with Batek Negrito of the Malay Peninsula). In conjunction research (wedekind et al, 1995. Proc R London ser B 260:245-249) has proven that Humans use body odour to identify genetically appropriate mates. This proposal is for a blind dating agency aimed at individuals wishing to meet a suitable partner for procreation. Olfactory communication is given precidence over visual stimuli.

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