Special Guest at Fragranze N. 8

Sissel Toolas

With the project “Fear”: human body as an invisible tool of communication

Stazione Leopolda

Sissel Tolaas, Norwegian scientist, chemist, linguist, artist and scent provocateur, will be one of the special guests at this edition of Fragranze. She will hold a lecture and present a special installation entitled “FEAR”.

Working in her Berlin laboratory where she has put together a “scent library” of nearly 7,000 smells, along with her creations and artistic performances, Ms. Tolaas is engaged in an unusual olfactory educational project – to train people to recognize, accept and define the smells of places, things, bodies and emotions. She firmly believes that greater awareness of our sense of smell will, in turn, make us more aware of the great possibilities it offers and of its great power.

“We tend to think of smells in purely esthetic terms – whether a smell is pleasant or unpleasant”, she says. “In other cultures odors have always been used as basic tools for defining the world and interacting with situations. Particularly when odors are closely associated with the identity of a person or a group. For me, studying the history, anthropology and the sociology of smells very concretely means investigating the “essence” of our culture”. 
At Fragranze Sissel Tolaas will present a portion of her extraordinary accomplishments with the installation FEAR, that will “show” how a body’s smell is a real, and invisible tool of communication.
The FEAR of smell VS. the SMELL of fear
This project/study on how odors produced by the body can become meaningful signals of specific states of mind, such as fear. In her laboratory, Ms. Tolaas has simulated and studied the body odors of men in different countries having panic attacks, and she will “exhibit” them on a scratch-and-sniff wall that will certainly provoke people and make them think about smells.