Publisher: Kai Von Rabenau
Editor: Urs Bellermann, Josephine Bobeck, Melissa Canbaz, Mareike Dittmer, Eva Gonçalves, Caroline Heuer, Renko Heuer, Ute Kühn, Göksu Kunak, Magdalena Magiera, Florian Rehn, Anna Saulwick, Anke Schleper, Tina Wessel
Size: 6 x 8 in
Impregnated with 12 smells
A huge waft of air bellows forth when I arrive at the door of Sissel Tolaas’ Wilmersdorfer flat in Berlin. Sissel is waiting for me, tall and thin-limbed. Her tousled platinum-blonde bob crowns a chic black ensemble, setting off a contrast of extremes. Expansiveness, breath, energy. The identity that Tolaas exudes is at first invisible and enigmatic, subsequently affirmed by her equally attractive appearance. Here in these first moments of encounter lies the quintessence of her career, of her life, which can only be described as one and the same: A process of living and breathing, of making known through our most primary sense: smell. Olfaction is our most primitive, or first, sense. It heightens our reality, informs our desires, triggers memory, constructs our environment. Contained in the limbic system and the most ancient core of the brain, smell is so powerful that one’s loss of olfaction – known as smell blindness or anosmia – can induce depression, perhaps even suicide as is thought in the case of INXS singer Michael Hutchence. Today perfume and fragrances are a five billion dollar industry. We dress ourselves in fragrance, camouflage our bodies with deodorants. At best, we buy into the aromatherapy, meditate with incense. At worst, we flee from a pungent stench. So why don’t we take smell more seriously?