photos: Jeisson Martin
I still remember the streets of Istanbul. More so, the scent of them. When I think of the city, I think of the dust, flying around, mixing with the different smells of food from the streets. Carrying the life of the people through the alleys, being baked in the sun and cooled down at night. I remember the flavor of apple tea floating through the city, I remember the sea. When I think of Berlin I smell an evening, a sundown, some concrete. I think of the possibilities that dance through the streets, the lights and the music. A smell can predict danger, a scent can mean home, a fragrance can make a promise.
The scent of a city is sort of its emotional fingerprint. The identity and announcement of events. How warm the smells surround you, how cold the night could be. How harsh a certain district smells and how soft the sea. Kreuzberg smells different than Zehlendorf, Mitte has a different perfume than Neukölln. Not to get all Grenouille, but scents to me are the texture that memories are made of.
Which is maybe also why the Austrian artist Wolfgang Georgsdorf built the smelling organ “Smeller 2.0” and displays it in the upcoming exhibition Osmodrama. In the exhibition, Georgsdorf wants to explore a new art form, the olfactory storytelling. With the support of scents, a theater piece or movie can be told and awaken emotions in us. The opening of “Osmodrama” is on Juli 15 and you’ll be able to smell it until September 18, 2016.
It’s always interesting to hear what different smells mean to other people. What details are important for their overall life. What factors describe their world. How would you describe the smell of your city? How does Berlin smell for you?