01 Jul

In the light of some new reading, I’ve thought of coming up with a smellscape of the city, a sort of transient map of the smells that are born and die everyday, hour, minute, in overcrowded Bucharest. As this is an individual project based on a subjective experience which focuses on ephemeral objects of perception, the result might not be relevant in the case of, let’s say, a more scientific approach.

It would be interesting to see however to what extent my olfactory perception of certain places in the city differs or resembles to that of others. Any input is welcomed: ).

Plus I’m curious of how Bucharest looks like according to the tip of my nose although I might have some idea already.

J. Douglas Porteous cited by Joy Monice Malnar and Frank Vodvarka in “Sensory Design” said “any conceptualization of smellscape must recognize that the perceived smellscape will be non-continuous, fragmentary in space and episodic in time, and limited by the height of our noses from the ground”. I can only wish my nose is high enough so I would survive to narrate at least the first episode of my olfactive tribulations.


Posted by on July 1, 2009 in smellscape


Tags: , , ,

6 responses to “smellscape

  1. Guus

    July 1, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    i hate subway [or is it underground?] smell. it’s food mixed up with sweat and hot socks. or smth. i abhor it. i do have a quite intense olfactory sensitivity. i love perfumes, it’s mankind’s greatest invention, if you ask me:))

    • sheherzadah

      July 1, 2009 at 2:07 pm

      Perfect input: ). Thanks. I hope to post my olfactory impressions quite soon and we can compare: ). There is something specific in the way the subway smells. I can’t really put my… nose on it yet but I hope to be able to break it apart quite soon. Lately I’ve been traveling by tram a lot and it reeks of all sorts of things, besides the ubiquitous smell of sweat and garlic which is like some sort of canvas on which all the other smells of the city are pinned: ).
      I luuuv perfumes as well! Which one’s your favorite? I’m not really interested in the brand as in its particular features, its specificity: ). (gawd, i’m beginning to sound like my boring college professors)

  2. Guus

    July 1, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    favorite… that’d be really hard to say lol. i even collect bottles, have a look: .

  3. sheherzadah

    July 1, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    WHOA: )

  4. Iulianus

    July 1, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    The map will also depend upon the season: the cheap summer perfumes of “manelistas”, the open sewers, the greasy smell of shaorma shops, the dazzling smells of flowers sold by gypsies, the omnipresent exhaust smell of the city’s thousands of cars, sweat and urine smells in the most unexpected places, the overcrowded and poorly ventilated buses….

  5. sheherzadah

    July 1, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    Well, dunno if u realize it, but u’ve chartered quite a map yourself; ). A bird’s eye view on the city’s unmistakable stench: ).
    Yes, the smellscape will depend on a lot of things, on everything, actually. In a way, we all know how the city actually smells. I’m rather looking for that something which might set certain places in it apart.
    Feel free to smell and share: ).


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