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Smell - Festival dell'Olfatto 2018: In the "perfumed mind" with Moellhausen

Smell - Festival dell'Olfatto 2018: In the "perfumed mind" with Moellhausen

06 August 2018

In the “perfumed mind” with Moellhausen at "Smell Experience: New research and frontiers", the cultural talk format curated by Smell - Festival dell'Olfatto and Moellhausen.
Among psychology, neurosciences, art and perfumery to fully experience smells and learn their language.

In the context of the ninth edition of “SMELL”, Festival dell’Olfatto (Sense of Smell Festival) held in Bologna from May 23rd through 27th, 2018, a new “format” created in close partnership with Moellhausen —“Smell Experience: New research and frontiers”— has enriched the exhibit.

On Sunday May 27th, the concluding day of the Festival, at the event hall of the International Museum and Library of Music of Bologna, “Smell Experience: New research and frontiers” allowed the attendees to range in diverse cultural realms. The format envisaged a conference program unique in its kind, for a journey in our “perfumed mind”, among psychology, neurosciences, art and perfumery, to learning how to understand and speak the language of smells.

A multidisciplinary path of success appreciated by the large participating audience, very interested and keen on the sense of smell theme and its cognitive, expressive and aesthetic potentials.

Developing synaesthesia by olfactory training

Among the outstanding guests LAURA SPEED, a Researcher at Meaning, Culture and Cognition Group, Center for Language Studies, Radboud University (the Netherlands), one of the centers that in recent years majorly engaged in studying linguistic, cognitive and cultural aspects linked to the olfactory sphere, producing several scientific publications.

In her lecture, the Researcher focused her investigation on the relationships between smells and colors, and how these relationships can help us to enhance our capabilities of perception analysis and description. Because by stimulating synaesthesia —through olfactory training — language can also be improved.

To watch the lecturer’s video interview, click here: 

Words to refining the olfactory experience

To clarify the relationships between olfactory perception and the sphere of language, CRISTINA CACCIARI —Italian Scholar, author of several publications of psycho-linguistic and Professor at the Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia — intervened.

To watch the lecturer’s video interview, click here: 

The emblematic title of her lecture “Is smell really a sense without words?” posed the core question the event aims at responding. If language in general is a meager medium for translating sensory experience, it appears to be even less equipped when it tries to put the sense of smell into words.

In fact, the sensorial perceptions of professionals such as perfumers, oenologists and tasters manage to lead entire industrial departments, while every day most people endure the frustration of identifying a smell whose source they cannot see (for example, when they are blindfolded), nor of describing it with terms understandable to everyone, of giving it a name.

According to Cristina Cacciari, language is very present in olfactory perception, because the words that accompany an olfactory experience allow us to refine it and make it more significant.

The sense of smell in the arts

Yet smells are powerful media of communication and expression: they evoke scenarios, atmospheres, thoughts, intentions. Therefore, they find an interesting use in artistic practice, as PETER DE CUPERE, one of the highest authorities in the field, told Smell Experience.

To watch the lecturer’s video interview, please click here: 

Over the last twenty years, the Belgian artist created more than 700 works on the olfactory perception theme from a social, cultural and environmental perspective. He has been the protagonist of more than 200 exhibitions around the world and he holds a constant activity as lecturer and consultant.

During his lecture, he presented his latest book “Scent in Context”, a veritable summa of his work and thinking. Few weeks ago he was also honored with the prestigious Golden Pear at the “Art and Olfaction Awards” for his contribution to the olfactory culture spreading.

A language to orient ourselves in the universe of fragrances

The coding of a language and of a specific glossary for smells is the topic on which DOMINIQUE MOELLHAUSEN —Perfumer and R&D Vice Director at Moellhausen — focused, by offering valiant tools to orient ourselves in the fragrances universe and their path of creation.

To watch the lecturer’s video interview, please click here: 

Concentrating on the “olfactory families” and on the typical notes, Dominique highlighted the potentials of innovative ingredients, to foster the clearest and most significant olfactory expression and create tales and olfactory images.

Illustrating how training to distinguish raw materials and classify fragrances in different families aids us in improving expression and communication, Dominique offered the participants a kit of materials from the Company educational archive. A successful choice that enabled the audience to practicing with the smells and thus to concretely mastering a language that, after all, really belongs to everyone.

For the sake of innovation and avant-garde, Dominique Moellhausen, together with the lecturers of “Smell Experience: New research and frontiers” substantiated how olfaction is a “decisive sense” for our knowledge of the world, with all the emotions binding us to it.

In the pursuit of an authentic and refined “olfactory culture” that dares to venture through unexplored routes and, sometimes, against the mainstream.


Although the information contained in this document is presented in good faith and believed to be correct, Moellhausen makes no representations or warranties as to the completeness or accuracy of the information. This document is provided on an “as is” basis. No representations or warranties, either express or implied, of fitness for a particular purpose are made herein with respect to information or products to which information refers. Moellhausen shall not be liable for any irresponsible, improper or illegal use, direct or indirect, of the information or the products represented herein and it shall not be liable for any damage arising from any use in connection therewith. 

©Copyright 2018, by Moellhausen S.p.A – All Rights Reserved. Any review, retransmission, spreading or other unauthorized use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon, this information is prohibited.

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