Proposal by: Lena Trost

(Digital) Glass Tasting

Project proposal: How glass becomes odour

My artistic research is about how glass becomes odour. Glass is an odourless material. But therefore, I claim, it can be used to tap into our own biological olfactory memory - which is the goal of the workshop. Glass becomes place holder for olfactory experiences, carrier medium and allows to communicate about smell, not via a concrete odour, but through a mental construct, a bridge to the invisible, to the individual olfactory memory...


Glass Tasting - Glass Tasting at cologne 2019-09. In context of 'She was like BÄM! meets Geliebte Parasiten im Pförtnerinnenhaus', Cologne 2019. Photo by Nadine Schwickart Fotografie Lena Trost

With: Lena Trost

Project description

Within my PhD project “Embodiment of the volatile. The ability to notice that a substance is present. Or: how glass becomes odor,“ I claim that the association of smell to a thing, object, is enough to create a smell. The actual reception exists even if the smell is imaginary. My medium is Glass. Glass carries associations with scientific instruments, is known for being odourless and like odor is both present and absent. In the Glass Tasting Workshop, which has been realised in a physical form and a digital form, my key question is how olfactory experiences can be manifested even though the corresponding olfactory molecules are absent. How is it possible to experience a smell that has been smelled in the past? What impulses are needed to tap most directly into olfactory memory? Assuming linguistic instructions are the strongest, then which types of language, semantics, syntax are the most effective? The (Digital) Glass Tasting borrows the framework of wine or coffee tastings. The participants are invited to taste or better to say smell glass under seven different multi-sensual conditions (i.e. colour, sound, texture, shape) using glasses of their daily life (digital) or glasses of the prepared workshop space (physical). The Glass Tasting will be built to be both playful and explorative; the recipients will learn about themselves and train their communication of olfactory memory. Embedded in the format will be space for exchange of perspectives and experiences amongst the recipients.

Possible ways to expand the project

I imagine the (Digital) Glass Tasting developing into an App to be used as a tool for artistic smell training, becoming part of the daily life but also performed in museums, in smell labs and conferences and I would like to try it with the anosmic community.

Personal introduction

I hold an MFA in Fine Arts Glass from the Institute of Ceramic and Glass Arts, Hochschule Koblenz, where I am currently teaching. Starting 2019 I am a PhD candidate (Fine Arts) at Bauhaus-University Weimar. I have shown my work internationally. I am greatful for my current support by Künstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral and Alexander Tustek-Stiftung.

This proposal is part of the 'Penny for your Thoughts' project 2022.