Temporalities of smellscapes

Many maps of smell neglect to take account of the temporal nature of smell experience and rarely consider alternative angles of view, often using a mimetic, scientific cartographic paradigm. In representing an ephemeral and transient olfactory world as a static map the result summarises a temporary state, only a millisecond in length. These two animated maps, Taking a Line from its Walk and Polyrhythmias of the Smellwalk, start to address such concerns. The dataset used in these practice-based studies is from smellwalks in Kyiv in December 2015.

Taking a Line from its Walk


This animated sequence of smell perceptions reveals the pulses, concordance and collision of smells within the smellwalk. It accentuates Lefebvre’s notion of rhythm as ‘repetition with difference’ as superimposed patterns of interference are generated.

Polyrhythmias of the Smellwalk

Comparative rhythms within the smellwalk include the smellwalker’s linear smell detection sequence, somatic stoops and sniffs, linear duration of the walk, global wind patterns of a winter in Kyiv. Each rhythm is played out individually, and then superposed as theory and practice combine to create new knowledge of multiple smellwalk temporalities. As each of the encountered smells dissipates and disappears, its source remains as a reminder. Future work will consider how multiple, simultaneous smell detections in a variety of locations across a city might be recorded and communicated.