Smell is a crucial sense, used and understood (often unconsciously) by people to trigger their memories of time and place. Stemming from a desire to counter the ‘continuous wholesale deodorisation’ of the world, Tolaas composes provocative smells to stimulate memory, recreate place, capture the seasons and arouse emotional and intellectual responses.
For NGV Triennial 2017, Sissel Tolaas has created a ‘smell landscape’ of Melbourne composed of twenty unique smells for you to touch and smell – building a picture of the city in your mind, made up by smells both pleasant and unpleasant. The audience is invited to guess what each smell is. Through this project Tolaas aims to stimulate stories about time and place to enhance our understanding of our surroundings and to enable us to reconnect with our sense of smell – a sense she believes is being lost.