At the beginning was actually not the word, but the smell. Chemical detection was the communication tool used by the first bacteria appearing on earth, for food and reproduction. Smells are used constantly, consciously or subconsciously, to communicate with plants, animals and human beings. The sense of smell is the only piece of the human brain in DIRECT contact with the air! Humans have more than 400 receptors (ten times more than the next kind of brain receptors, and almost 100 times more in diversity than the receptors for vision), and with a direct connection to our amygdala and hippocampus (in 2 synapses only), our brain is uniquely wired from the young till the older ages to perceive smells.

Smells are a VERY crucial component in the definition, understanding of and orientation to an environment. Smells surround us all the time. Even when we sleep we smell. Historical, sociological and religious reasons have pulled the contemporary human being into almost ignoring the sense of smell! ONLY education can revive these hidden capacities, since the hardware and software still function in the healthy human being, but only if consciously trained and used. A deeper understanding of the sense of smell is important in order to be more conscious of the possibilities it offers and its powerful capacity. Smell can empower vision and sound and create new meanings, convey meaning on its own and provide the purest information. Challenging oneself to use one's nose gives new methods to approach one's realities; different from those ones learn from watching screens. We need more optimism and positive attitudes to be able to understand the seriousness of what we face: New challenges, new methods, new methodologies, new tools... theNOSE is the key here. And more than that, this tool costs no money!


Part 1

  1.  Sissel Tolaas give a short introduction to the topic of Smell and the purpose of the workshop.
  2.  Participants will be blindfolded and given a big piece of blank paper and a black marker
  3.  Participants will get to smell 10 different smells one by one and are asked to react to the smells either through language or drawings.

Part 2

  1.  Participants enter the second space blindfolded.
  2.  Participants explore the same smells, but this time the smells are placed on different materials through activating via touch.
  3.  Participants are asked to do the to react to the smells either through language or drawings.

Part 3

  1.  Each participant’s 2 sets of drawings/writings, from both sessions, will be compared.
  2.  Outcome: Do one perceive the smell the same way if a second sense is involved or not. SURPRISES!!
  3.  The content of Smells will be revealed.
  4.  Images and drawings will be added to a database made accessible for the participants.

Thursday 10th August
Session 1: 9am - 11am
Session 2: 11:15am - 1:15pm - SOLD OUT

Venue: Spark Lab to ALT Group 16 Mackelvie Street

Workshop Cost: $100
The workshop is inclusive to Premium Ticket holders. Please email RSVP to
You must have Semi Permanent ticket to attend any of the workshops

Purchase your ticket here.



Speakers and Artists

Sissel Tolaas Smell researcher & artist Berlin, Germany


Aotea Centre

50 Mayoral Drive, Auckland, New Zealand

10th Aug 2017

12:00 am - 12:00 am

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