Pecha Kucha @ Rotterdam, 03-05-2011

Next Tuesday I'll make a presentation at the Pecha Kucha evening... please come along. Submissions will be donated to the victims of the earthquake.

/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / Pecha Kucha Night Rotterdam for the Japan earthquake victims
/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /May 3, 20.00 hrs
'De Gouvernestraat' Gouvernestraat 133, Rotterdam.
/ / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / /Pecha Kucha worldwide requested all of its subidiaries in connected cities to organise 'Inspire Japan! sessions. Based on a proposal to donate the proceeds to the Japan eartquake victims through 'Architecture for Humanity' an aid programme lead by designers. Previous Pecha Kucha 'Inspire Japan! sessions were held in Nagoya, Tokyo, Shenzhen, Barcelona, Bangalore, San Francisco, Chicago, Prague, Milan, Berlin. We are proud to add Rotterdam  to this list. We are happy to invite you to the Rotterdam edition of  ‘Inspire Japan!’
This session will take place Tuesday May 3d from 20:00 hrs. Admission fee is 10 euro's which goes directly to Japan. End of this evening you will be posted about the total financial result.
The programme line-up is still fluid, but we expect at least 12 presenters amongst whom:

- Maki Ueda (olfactory artist)
- Yuko Uesu (film - DNA harp)
- Richard van der Laken (design)
- Gerald van de Kaap (artist)
- Bob Smit (gallery)
- Karel Doing (film)
- Vedran Mutic (contrabass)
- Tomáš Libertiny (artist)
- Richard Hutten (design)
Inspire Japan is a collective effort by Hunk-design, Designplatform Rotterdam and Theatre De Gouvernestraat. A sushi-bar will be present for your pleasure..!
‘Inspire Japan!’
We look forward seeing you..!  Bart, Gerrit, Jeroen, Lucas, Nadine, Willem.

date: May 3d 2011
location: '
De Gouvernestraat', Gouvernestraat 133, 3014 PM Rotterdam
doors open: 20:00 hrs
admission 10 euro = donation for Japan.


Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell

Molly Birnbaum, the author of this book, has made an interview with me some time ago for this book coming out in this June. Writing about smell from the perspective of olfaction blackout.

excerpt from:

My first book, Season to Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way, will be published by Ecco/HarperCollins in June, 2011.
Preparing to become a chef, recent college graduate Molly Birnbaum spent her nights savoring cookbooks and her days working at a Boston bistro. But shortly before starting at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, she was hit by a car, an accident that fractured her skull, broke her pelvis, tore her knee to shreds, and destroyed her ability to smell—a sense essential to cooking. Devastated, Birnbaum dropped her cooking school plans, quit her restaurant job, and sank into depression.  
Season to Taste is the heartwarming story of what came next: how she picked herself up and set off on a grand quest to understand and overcome her condition. With irresistible charm and good cheer, Birnbaum explores the science of olfaction, pheromones, and Proust’s madeleine. She meets leading experts, including writer Oliver Sacks, scientist Stuart Firestein, and perfumer Christophe Laudamiel. And she visits a pioneering New Jersey flavor lab, eats at the legendary Chicago restaurant Alinea, and enrolls at a renowned perfume school in the South of France. Through Birnbaum we rediscover the joy of smell—from the pungency of cinnamon and cedarwood to the subtle beauty of fresh bagels and lavender—fall in love, and recapture a dream.


Smell in art:" Scents and Sensibility"

My friend, whom I really respect as an olfactory artist, Peter de Coupre, writes about an article of ArtNews on olfactory art.  2011 seems to be the new year of olfactory art.

excerpt from : 


Peter de Coupre

Sweat, gunpowder, grass, jasmine, pine, pollution, and patchouli are some of the odors wafting around galleries, museums, and studios these days as artists incorporate scent into the esthetic experience...   In the March issue of ARTnews magazine Barbara Pollack gives an overview of a lot of known contemporary artists in the field of olfactory art. 

I find it personally a very interesting article because it shows that there is a lot to say about smell in art and the strenght of it. I guess from every artist that is mentioned, - and it are a lot, you could write a totally new article about olfactory art and especially their way of exploring it.
I recommend it to read.
Just to give you an idea of the artists that are described and mentioned, you find a selected list here:
Koo Jeong A, HaegueYang, Maki Ueda, Federico Díaz, Kiki Smith,, Ernesto Neto, Marcel Duchamp, Ed Kienholz, Clara Ursitti, Sue Corke, Hagen Betzwieser, Gayil Nalls, Chrysanne Stathacos, Lisa Kirk, Christophe Laudamiel, Patricia Choux, Ulrich Lang, Daniel Bozhkov, Lovett/Codagnone, Sissel Tolaas, ...  and me, Peter De Cupere ;-)
Some specialists, -art critics, curators and historians, mentioned: Caro Verbeek, Jim Drobnick, Chandler Burr, Yasmil Raymond,...
Like you might have noticed some of them are member of this website. I hope a lot more will follow so this online olfactory community has potentional to increase.
There are of course a lot more olfactory artists that could have been mentioned, but it's good that the artworld starts to write more about smell as part of art so there'll be more attention to it. It would be nice that a forum like this website would be a kind of collection of artists that show there works with scents. I guess when the artworld has a wider overview of which artist is doing what with scent, they might be even more interested to see olfactory art as a real art and I'm not talking only about visual art in combination with smell but also just the gold liquid.
Or like Chandler Burr says in the article: “What interests me is helping people understand that these are actually works of art, that they are beautiful and esthetically important and meet all the criteria for art, equal in terms to painting, sculpture, music, architecture, and film.”
I guess a good way to show to a wider public that a fragrance can be a piece of art is to show it equal to visual art with a respect isolation to the environment. Actually for me it's clear that a scent can be an artwork. It's all about memory, feeling and reaction... a little molecule can throw you back in time. So actually it can have and often has more power than the visual aspect of an artwork. You can close your eyes but can't close your nose, - except when you are trained for it. The difference between the two is that the 'smell' works more on instinct and subjectivity based on the memory of a persons mind. The 'visual' is actually a way people have learned to look to things. Although they think that we interpret it on a subjective way, we have learned how to see and look to things.  There are symbols, signs, social aspects that people recognize and that they can translate by knowledge. The smell is more based on a subjective way of knowing than the viewer does. Most of the time we remember something by smell just because it was present at a certain time, so we learned unconscious the relation between a scent and a certain moment, a happening and all stuff that was present at that moment. The beauty of a smell is that you can make your own mental view based on your memory feelings and on the chemical process in the body that takes place. Already for this chemical reaction of your body on a smell, - thinking about aromatherapy (not that i personally see aromatherapy as an art, because than every therapist should be called artist, - what's in a name?), I think scent has the same rights to be an artwork. It's more complex to understand and there's still a lot to tell about.
But I would say, enjoy the article Scents and Sensibility. You can find it on


For those olfactory art fans... here is a nice website providing you info around olfactory art.  Very nice initiative.