The Male Haze

Odorama 34 - with Boris Raux, Marcello Aspria, Emily Burdfield Steel and Frank Bloem

24 Oct 2019
Does a 'real man' smell like a fresh forest or dark leather, like in the Axe commercials? Boris Raux, Marcello Aspria, Dr. Emily Burdfield Steel, and Frank Bloem will discuss the scent of masculinity.

Tickets / Facebook


Vintage ad for Macho Musk oil -


Fragrance can be an invisible part of our personal style and have a powerful effect on how people see and remember us. In a world where we continue to stereotype gender, the perfume industry both suffers and profits from normative ideas around scent. In the quest to define the male smell from a biological and cultural perspective, we ask several thought provoking questions:

Are there specific smells that make the male body smell different from the female? Which pheromones and chemicals produce the masculine smell? What does a group of male soldiers smell like when they come home from a mission? Would a person's scent change during a gender transition? And why does a mens dressing room have such a distinctive odeur? 

This edition of Odorama is curated by Frank Bloem. Odorama is a concept by head curator Caro Verbeek and a collaboration with co-curators Frank Bloem and Sanne Groeneveld.

Marcello Aspria

Marcello Aspria studied Sociology and Gender, Sexuality and Society at the University of Amsterdam. For the best part of a decade he researched gender in perfumery, and wrote on smell culture for various media. In recent years he was secretary to the Board of the Norbert Elias Foundation, and taught social sciences at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus University College, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and Webster Campus in Leiden. He pursues a PhD in Science and Technology Studies at the Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management, where he researches digitalization in healthcare. 

Emily Burdfield Steel

Emily Burdfield-Steel is an Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). She studies the chemical ecology of insects, specifically, how they use scents and odours to attract and locate mates, as well as defend themselves from predators. She is particularly interested in how these different types of communication shape evolutionary processes. She previously worked in both Finland and the UK, and is a founding member of the Evolution in Action project which works to create teaching materials for schools and help people of all ages understand how biological interactions shape and maintain biodiversity.

Boris Raux

From his scientific background the artist Boris Raux kept an intense drive for research. During the past fifteen years, he produces what he calls, The Olfactory Chronicles. He tries endlessly to grasp a better understanding of our world and of our society. This task is obviously impossible so he faces the situation with humour and accepts to lost everything into volatile scents. His practice evolves from four areas of investigation, the common goods, the common places, the uncommon bodies and the common myths to create, nowadays, performative sculptures that might be describe as factories of common olfactory experiences.

Frank Bloem

 Frank Bloem is an artist who uses scent as his primary medium. He studied Fine Arts at the Rietveld academy. In the summer of 2016 Frank changed his focus from visual art to olfactory based works. He started The Snifferoo, a perfume laboratory and a place for education and experiments in the realms of scent. This led to various commissions from personalized perfumes to the recreation of elephant smells for the Amsterdam Zoo.


Odorama: The Male Haze
Friday, the 24th of October
Start 20:00
Mediamatic Biotoop, Dijksgracht 6, Amsterdam
Tickets: Full price €7,50 | Artist / Student / Stadspas €5,25 | +€2,50 at the door | (including €1 administration fee)

*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

You will receive a 25% discount on our 3-course menu at Mediamatic ETEN upon presentation of your ticket! O
nly valid on day of event.