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january 2018, mediamatic, amsterdam.

When we classify scents, what structures do we adopt? When we speak about scent, what language do we use? Can we do better?

These are the questions we will explore and possibly answer over three days of talks and participant-led workshops, in the world’s first Scent Hackathon, at Mediamatic in Amsterdam.


















The IAO teams up with Klara Ravat (Smell Lab, Berlin) and curator Caro Verbeek in a weekend devoted to dismantling, analyzing and (potentially) restructuring how we classify odors, and exploring how we communicate about – and with – scent. The theme of the weekend was inspired in part by Sissel Tolaas‘ work with NASALO, as well as other pioneering work around language and scent taxonomies.


The weekend program starts with a special edition of Caro Verbeek’s Odorama: ‘Reading scents: experimental approaches to preserving and describing aromatic heritage’, where Peter de Cupere, Kate McLean, Laura Speed and Cecilia Bembibre will present the work they have done with language and olfaction. The talks will be supplemented by a performance by Han van der Vegt and Klara Ravat.


The following day, we initiate our two-day “hackathon”. This will start with a brief talk by Cecilia Bembibre about existing scent taxonomies, a talk by Caro Verbeek about existing olfactory vocabularies (and current and past efforts made in this realm), and a smelling session led by Saskia Wilson-Brown where we find the classification language for materials that don’t easily slot into existing scent structures. Klara Ravat will then help self-directed working groups set goals and outcomes, and we’ll get to work.


By the end of the weekend of smelling, problem-identifying and – yes – hacking into existing structures and aromatic archetypes, we hope to be able to present an enhancement on how we use existing language to describe scent, and a re-invention of how we classify odorants. We also hope to experiment with assigning data-driven meanings to specific aromatic chemicals.





The IAO and Klara Ravat (Smell Lab, Berlin) team up to present a full day of informal talks, roundtables and workshops relating to experimental practices with scent. The first summit of olfactory artists, participants shared their work and discussed their issues in an open and unrestrained environment.
















You can find the complete program HERE .


november 2016, state festival, berlin.

Would you be able to sniff out your future partner in the STATE crowd? Check out the power of your nose and join the SMELL LAB, Berlin for daily aerobic and Sniff-and-Match sessions. The tailor-made aerobic sessions will help you work up the sweat necessary to imbue a small patch of material with your unique scent. Once generated, all the smells will be collated and available to sniff and rate. A simple algorithm will provide you with a best match; the rest is up to you.

Places are limited to 30 people per aerobics session. Sniff and Match sessions will be held each day and open only to those who have participated in the aerobics sessions.

Participating artists: Mareike Bode, Daria Chesnokova, Dimitri Cacouris, Eeva-Liisa Puhakka, Sheraz Khan, Alanna Lynch, Klara Ravat and Chaveli Sifre.


FEBRUARY 2016, sPEKTRUM, berlin.

During a period of two months, the Smell Lab participants developed different Smell Games. On February 2016 we invited everyone to come with a playful mood and discover how fun-loving smells can be while playing with us and our games. 


Olfactory games are engaging and challenging and also work as potential brain enhancers. Games are structured ways of playing but also they help you avoid your sense of smell impairment: remember how our sense of smell plays a strong and powerful role in our daily life. Training your cognitive abilities will maintain your mind healthy and so will your nose! 

We supported the production and presented four different installations/games on the following topics: memory, storytelling, match&play and many more.

1. Olfactory Translations by Regine Rapp
2. Smell it out! by Maria Zadorozhnaya and Anja Pachenkova
3. Story smelling by Maria Zadorozhnaya and Anja Pachenkova (with the help of Xiao and Dimitri Cacouris).
4. Brust by Marie LeBlanc Flanagan (with a little hand by Klara Ravat).
5. Smell the exquisite corpse smells like by Chaveli Sifre and Mareike Bode.
6. Gamble? by Klara Ravat.

                                                               Video documentation of Burst by Maria LeBlanc Flanagan (courtesy of the artist).


JUne 2016, hosted at holz kohlen koks

CONNECTED SMELLS is a live installation and a public distillation of substances and materials connected to memories. The audience was asked to contribute to the distillaton with an object that reminded them on someone in their life! They could take a vial filled in with their connected memory.

Participating artists: Mareike Bode, Daria Chesnokova, Dimitri Cacouris, Max Joy, Sheraz Khan, Alanna Lynch, Klara Ravat and Chaveli Sifre.


transmediale/CTM Vorspiel January 2016 festival (hosted at Spektrum).

Collected Smells is the first installation produced by the Smell Lab. 
The work consists of several smells gathered during the Smell Lab's meetings and derived from various locations in Berlin-Neukölln. The installation is made up of sheets of cloth imbued with scents from our surroundings, for example - the water, the soil, cigarette smoke...

Participating artists: Mareike Bode, Daria Chesnokova, Dimitri Cacouris, Max Joy, Sheraz Khan, Alanna Lynch, Klara Ravat and Chaveli Sifre.

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