Odor Ludens

Exploring the fragrance of toys. Odorama 40 with Frank Bloem, Alissa Rees, Caro Verbeek, Thijs de Zeeuw, and Jonathan Kok Wai Ho

27 Aug 2020

In Odor Ludens we explore the fragrance of toys through the perspectives of various artists: Curator Frank Bloem, healthcare designer Alissa Rees, scent historian Caro Verbeek, landscape architect Thijs de Zeeuw, and fetish artist Jonathan Ho 

We will dive into the smelly world of nostalgic toys and research into connections that our brain playfully makes in between toys and its smell. We explore how certain odours might have influenced our minds while playing in the past, and also see if it is possible to use fragrance in toys to positively manipulate our children in the future.

We are not limited to childhood toys, as we will also have a look at animals and the objects that they play with, and shine a light on the aroma's of sex-toys designed for adults. There will be a lot to smell...

You can visit this lecture in real life and let your senses do the work, or follow it via our Instagram Livestream and receive a sample kit at home.

Tickets / Facebook

Odor Ludens - Eloise Peredruk


Frank Bloem: The Sweet Smell of Plastic
Odorama curator Frank Bloem grew up in the eighties and although his parents promoted wooden toys, he preferred plastic. When reflecting on it later he realised that his favourite toy, a plastic pink panther puppet, was especially so attractive because it smelled like sweet strawberry. He tells us about flavours that manufacturers add to toys in order to attract kids. 

Alissa Rees: Baby Farm Toys
Alissa Rees is a concept and healthcare designer that comes to talk about her project 'Baby Farm Toys'. These special toys can be stuffed with straw, wool and soil. Contact with these natural microbes seem to have the ability to reduce the risk of developing diseases and allergies such as asthma, inflammatory bowel and hay fever. The fact that the smell of these natural materials will create a strong first memory, also helps to activate an interest for nature at a young age. While talking about this project, Alissa explains how the smell of toys can help to get our children and future generations excited to reconnect with nature. 


Baby Farm Toys - A project by Odorama guest speaker Alissa Rees Alissa Rees is a concept and healthcare designer that comes to talk about her project 'Baby Farm Toys'. These special toys can be stuffed with straw, wool and soil.

With: Alissa Rees

Caro Verbeek: Influencing Scents
It appears that the meaning we attribute to certain odours is fluid and gender-specific. Toys can therefore influence a mind at an early age. For example: the Star Wars TIE fighter pilot smells of strawberry because it was produced in the same factory as Strawberry Shortcake dolls. A whole generation, now associates this innocent fruity scent with masculinity and violence. Scent historian Caro Verbeek comes to talk about how added flavours in toys could influence the normative ideas developed by children. 


Hagen Betzwieser with TIE fighter pilot - Olfactory artist Hagen Betzwieser made a photo with scented action figures that will be discussed in Odorama 40: Odor Ludens. He says: „As a kid I was a huge collector of Star Wars action figures, well, I still am. I have never paid a lot of attention to the olfactory dimension of these toys until my friend Caro Verbeek has made me aware of the fruity story of the 1982 Imperial TIE Fighter Pilot. Almost 40 years later, I sniff out some of my childhood memories.“ Hagen Betzwieser

Thijs de Zeeuw: The Playing Animal
That humans need to play and experience personal growth while playing, is a fact that we know from the book Homo Ludens, by Johan Huizinga. But what about animals? Landscape designer Thijs de Zeeuw, designs living spaces for animals in zoos and comes to talk about the playing animal. How do animals play? which toys can you give to an imprisoned animal? and most important: what role do scents play therein? 


Toys for Animals in Zoos - A project by Odorama guest speaker Thijs de Zeeuw Landscape designer Thijs de Zeeuw , designs living spaces for animals in zoos. In odorama 40 he comes to give a lecture about the playing animal. How do animals play? and what role do scents play therein? 

Jonathan Ho: Aromas in the Darkroom
By looking at the enormous supply of dildos, butt-plugs, nipple-clamps, vibrators, handcuffs, et cetera, it becomes clear that children are not the only ones that play with toys, adults do to. Jonathan Kok Wai Ho is a visual artist and designer of fetish toys. He designed a number of toys for sexual play, and also designed the interiors of the darkrooms in Homoclub Church, Amsterdam. He comes to talk about the importance of smell when designing equipment for sexual fantasies. What scents do you use in the darkroom and what not? What taboos prevent the use of perfumes? And which role do poppers, sweat, and other smells play in a fetish game or a visit to the darkroom? 


Interior of Club Church - Designed by Jonathan Ho Artist Jonathan Kok Wai Ho designed the interiors of the darkrooms in Homoclub Church in Amsterdam. In Odorama 40 he comes to talk about the importance of smell when designing equipment for sexual fantasies.  Abel Minnee

Bring your own toy

Do you remember a significant smell of a toy from your own childhood? In case you still have it, please bring it with you! We will present a fine selection of toys from the eighties and nineties, but to get a rich pallet of smells we would like to encourage all visitors to bring their own smelly toys, or to send a video of it in a we-transfer link to


Odorama 40: Odor Ludens
Thursday, the 27th of August
Start 20:00
End: 22:30

Mediamatic Biotoop, Dijksgracht 6, Amsterdam. Or via Instagram live with a scent-kit sent to your home.

Tickets: Full price €12,50 | Student / Artist / Stadspas €8,75* (incl. €1,- administration costs) | Livestream ticket, including a sample kit sent to your home €12,50.

You can buy a Livestream ticket until Tuesday, August 25th, 2pm. Then we have enough time to send you a sample kit. The Livestream will be available to anyone on Instagram. 

*We give a discount to students and artists. If this applies to you we will ask to see your kvk nr/portfolio or student card for this option. For questions please send an email to

Follow online

With the guidelines of our government in mind, fewer people are allowed on site. Therefore you can follow this lecture also online via Instagram live. The bodily experience that is common to our Odorama lecture will not get lost! We just send the flavours and smells to you in a sample kit. If you buy a Livestream ticket for this event before Tuesday the 25th of August, we will make sure you get the sample kit to your home before the lecture.