Sissel Tolaas on discovering the world from the perspective of the nose

“I collected smells instead of writing a diary”, says Sissel Tolaas. Find out how this helped her discover her surroundings through smell.

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Scent expert Sissel Tolaas has been working at the intersection of smell and language since 1990. Over the years she has collected some 6 730 smells from around the world. Using these smells, Tolaas aims to train the nose to go beyond emotion and relate to smell in a rational way.

At Design Indaba Conference 2012 she speaks about various projects she has undertaken: from making cheese from human bacteria to capturing the scent of fear. All Tolaas’s projects have a focus on education and seek to decontextualise smells in order to transform them into human aesthetical contexts.

While in Cape Town for the 2012 Conference, Tolaas also worked on an exciting project to capture the smell of Cape Town.