Religious rituals are often multi-sensory experiences, and in this edition of Odorama, we explore its olfactory facets.
Like the divine, smell is invisible, indescribable and intangible. Fragrant smoke rises to the heavens, where the gods were thought to reside. In many ancient belief systems scents were thought to be the right language, fitting to the immaterial state of the gods. That is why they regularly made burnt offerings.
Did you know that our word perfume comes from the method of burning resins in ancient Rome called ‘per fumum’?
Odorama is a concept by head curator Caro Verbeek and a collaboration with co-curators Frank Bloem and Sanne Groeneveld.
As curator of this event Caro Verbeek will introduce and moderate this Odorama, talking about the perfumes she created with IFF for the Rijksmuseum, focusing on religious paintings and objects.
Sanne Groeneveld is a musician, a fundraising manager at Reactie & Respons and a smell enthousiast. Nostrilius is the name under which he creates scent and soap.
When an artist Babette Degraeve asked Sanne to produce a soap version of her Mary statues, they were bound to find an answer to the question: What is the smell of holiness?
Claudia de Vos is an artist and scent psychologist. Her expertise is to be found in the psychodynamics and the symbolism of natural scents, its active compounds and the (traditional) use of essential oils. This specific cross reference creates a unique view on sent psychology. She gives lectures and trainings on this subject and makes olfactory art.
Tonight she will recreate an Egyptian burnt offering called kyphi with help from the audience.
Miguel Matos is a fragrance curator, lending his expertise not only to educational institutions like the Art & Olfaction Institute in LA, but also to his own studio/gallery and an editor and writer at fragrantica.com. He is also a self-taught perfumer. Recently, he launched his own line of perfumes, Miguel Matos Perfumes.
One day, while looking for inspiration for his fragrance creations and curatorial activity, Miguel stumbled upon a statue the Sacred Art Museum of Funchal. It was a sculpture of St Elizabeth Queen of Portugal. And she made him travel in time and scent, through a series of episodes in her life that are deeply connected to fragrant materials and smells of the sanctified. Miguel dedicated a perfume to this story.
Annalisa Butticci is assistant professor of cultural anthropology at the University of Utrecht
and research fellow at the Max Planck Institute on Religious and Ethnic Diversity.
Her research interests range from anthropology and sociology of religion, to narrative methods and life stories. In this volume of Odorama, she will divulge an intriguing tale of a humble smell that became a messenger to the gods.
Odorama: Scent from Heaven
Friday, the 3rd of May
Mediamatic Biotoop, Dijksgracht 6, Amsterdam
Tickets: €7,50 pre-sale | Students €5.25 pre-sale | +€2.50 at the door | (including €1 administration fee)