Ele Edreva talks about fragrance wheels and two participants ask a question.

Community-Based Olfactory Research Group (CBORG)

CBORG is a collaborative roving research team working to make sensory education and research more widely accessible and politically/artistically valuable to our communities in Chicago. Resting upon the belief that smell is a skill and way of knowing that has been long devalued by systems of power, the group was co-started by researcher Eleonora Edreva and myself with the intention that everyone could use more practice learning through their noses.

Categories: Education, Gustatory, Olfactory

A scientist lifts a melon with both hands. Two other scientists rest their hands on the melon. All three wear nitrile gloves.

Perfect melon

Perfect melon is a VR performance aiming to create a fictional corporate persona as a pseudo technology corporation. The “corporation” behind Perfect Melon exploits the alienated senses of its consumers by claiming its products will “reconnect” the viewers to the romanticized idea of a lost natural world. Moreover, Perfect melon explores the corporate interests hidden by the guise of community-building. Perfect melon is activated by audience participation with real-time audio, visual, and flavor components. The participants enter the virtual space with the mission of finding the perfect melon through slapping, hearing, and tasting different melons. Each chosen melon has a unique flavor profile mixed by a flavor (smell + taste) display.

Categories: Artwork, Gustatory, Olfactory, Virtual Reality

A field of particles snaking their way through space, viewed at a distance.

Sanitary selves

Santiary selves is a olfactory VR installation celebrating and critiquing motion capture databases from the 2000s. Audience members are invited to engage with the project through immersive smell and sound as well as interact with the database in a virtual space. Sanitary selves seeks to question the sanitation and omission of markers of identity in the databases, asking whether purely abstract movements can exist when we are so steeped in culture.

Categories: Artwork, Olfactory, Virtual Reality

Close-up of the preserved flower bunches in the Pyrex dish; a soft woody, floral, powdery odor comes from the flowers.

Big time sensibility

The installation explores the perceived synthetic emotions derived from traditional, domestic flower preservation. Flowers were cut from their stem, preserved in paraffin wax, and randomly reattached with botanist’s tape. A thick paraffin blanket affixes the stems to the Pyrex dish. The flowers waft soft floral, powdery, and woody notes from the addition of Dior Homme.

Categories: Artwork, Olfactory