My name is Kate McLean, an artist and designer, creator of smellmaps of cities around the world. I focus on human perception of the urban smellscape. While the visual dominates in data representation I believe we should tap into alternative sensory modes for individual and shared interpretation of place.
Smells form part of our knowing, but are elusive, often disappearing before they can be described pinned down. Smell perception is an invisible and currently under-presented dataset with strong connections to emotions and memory. I am part of a small but growing number of innovative practitioners committed to the study and capture of this highly nuanced sensory field.
The tools of my trade include: individual group smellwalks, individual smellwalks (the “smellfie”), smell sketching, collaborative smellwalks, graphic design, motion graphics, smell generation and smell diffusion, all united by mapmaking. Download a copy of my smellfie guide to smellwalking.
In 2014 I worked with Mapamundistas in Pamplona creating a bespoke piece of design in situ late in October 2014 and year of “Smellmap: Amsterdam” research collaboration with Bernardo (Brian) Fleming of International Flavors and Fragrances saw a summary exhibition at Mediamatic in April 2014 and at IEEE VIS 2014 Arts Programme in Paris in November 2014.
This year I am working on a unique sensory audit with Guy’s Hospital and St. Thomas’ / FutureCity to generate a London Bridge smellmap for the KHP Cancer Arts Programme and am busy analysing the data and information from smellwalking in Singapore.
I am a PhD candidate (part-time) in Information Experience Design (IED) a the Royal College of Art, a marathon runner and snowboarder.