Smells

COLLECTOR: SISSEL TOLAAS, 9230 ITEMS

I collect smells. My lab consists of 6,730 organic and 2,500 chemical molecules. Like other people have a library or other systems of categorizing knowledge, I have an archive of smells. I am not interested in defining smell as attractive or unattractive  —  all smells are interesting as information.

The nose is the most advanced and the most neglected human interface. With every breath, smell molecules flood through our body, affecting how we act, react and communicate. Even when we sleep, we breathe and smell. We breathe 23,040 times a day, moving 12.5 cubic meters of air. You can survive without seeing and hearing but without breathing you are dead.

Nothing stinks but thinking makes it so! I use smells to communicate intention — being a skunk for a day is very effective if you want your peace.
Sissel  Tolaas, 51, Stavanger, Norway

Our sense of smell is an active interface to the outside world, but we need to use it! Historical, sociological and religious factors have tricked contemporary humans into practically ignoring more than one percent of our genes. Only education can revive these hidden capacities — while the hardware and software still function in the healthy human body, they need to be consciously trained and used. I work with smells 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Life is everywhere and so are smells.