Is scent an art? It’s the Victorians’ fault; they thought our sense of smell was a tawdry, animalistic thing, an inferior anachronism. Perfume was something you lavished on your handkerchiefs and waved around to blot out the odour of poor people. Your sense of smell was a hindrance. Arts were for the finer senses: sight and hearing.
And still, with every brand and every celebrity rushing to personify themselves in perfume, it’s seen as frivolous, indulgent and – when you get stuck in a lift with a bloke dowsed in dihydro myrcenol – a bit annoying.
But the world of scent is changing.
In subterranean meeting rooms and closed web groups, the indie scent crowd meet in secret to say what they really think. At Oxford University’s department of cross modal sensory perception and London University’s department of philosophy, they’re taking a close look at the way our noses work with our brains and our memories. And they’re all interested in fragrance that transcends fashion, scents that tell a story.
So let’s tell ours. In 26 Scents.
What to do if you’d like to join in
Think of a time or a place that makes you smile. Remember, or imagine its scent. Describe it in 26 or 260 words; you can have 2600 if you really need them. The plan is to choose 26 stories, and make as many as we can into scents that tell the same tale. We can have a blog, an event, maybe an e-book. All good ideas appreciated.