Smelling Species

Odorama 45 with Frank Bloem, Peter Roessingh, Jelle Zandveld, Arne Hendriks and Thomas Thwaites

17 okt 2021

During Inhuman Carnaval at Dutch Design Week, there is a lecture curated by Frank Bloem about the smells of the amazing species in our ecosystem. Most animals have a sense of smell, but do they use smell the same way as we do? And what about the aromas that animals and other species release to mark their territory?

Through lectures from artists and scientists, we explore how our noses can help to engage with the non-human species around us. 


Frank Bloem setting free some of Jelle Zandveld's fruit flies - Scientist and fruit fly specialist Jelle Zandveld  brings some of his fruit flies to this edition of Odorama and shares his insight on fruit flies that stems from his evolutionary research. Frank Bloem sets some of them free.  Anisa Xhomaqi, Jelle Zandveld

Elephant smells - Frank Bloem

Did you know that a young male elephant smells a bit like a banana? Frank Bloem talks about his 'elephant smell' project. Artis, the zoo in Amsterdam, created stations where you can hear, feel and smell like an elephant. For this Frank researched what the substances of the smells are, and how to translate them into scents for humans. Finally, he composed the scent of the drafty female, rutting male, and the young male. In this lecture, he talks more about how these animals use scents to communicate and what they might mean. 

Do fruit flies smell? - Jelle Zandveld

How do flies always find the fruit? Do they have a sense of smell? Scientist and fruit fly specialist Jelle Zandveld explains to us more about it. He is doing evolutionary research on fruit flies and he is taking some with him too. 

The smell of the woods - Arne Hendriks

Everyone knows that typical smell of the woods. Is it the soil? Are it the trees? No, it is the smell of mycelium! Arne Hendriks is an artist and researcher on human ecology. Currently he is researching how to build with mycelium. He talks more about this interconnecting network, and the specific smell of it. 

Goat man - Thomas Thwaites

Thomas Thwaites explores the psychological and social impacts of technology. His research and making process is often interwoven as a story, told through live performance lectures, published books, moving images and exhibitions. In his second book, Goat Man, he tells the tale of taking time off from being human by becoming a goat. Thwaites escaped the angst of the human condition by roaming around the mountains in the Alps, on four legs with a prosthetic rumen strapped to his chest. 

How does it feel to live as a non-human? What can we learn from being part of another species group for a while? and in what way can close modern technology take us to fulfill an ancient human dream?

Species Mimicry - Peter Roessingh

Peter Roessingh is an Evolutionary Biologist and Sensory Physiologist working at the University of Amsterdam. His main interests are chemical communication and the evolution of sensory receptors, in particular the role that these receptors may play in the evolution of new species. Peter speaks about species that disguise themselves as other species through smell. Spiders that smell like moths, flowers that smell like flies - how have species evolved and learned to mimic others?  


Entrance fee: €5


Inhuman Carnaval at Dutch Design Week
Odorama 45: Smelling Species
17th October 2021, 16:00-17:30
Natlab, Eindhoven

Read more about the Inhuman Carnaval program.


Opening Slide for Odorama - Smelling Species - This edition of Odorama is all about smelling species. In this opening slide, there is a picture of the Olfactory Cross-Dressing sensorial installation that was part of the Inhuman Carnaval project. Participants can disguise themselves as different species by using these special hand sanitizers, created by fragrance artists  Frank Bloem  and Niklaus Mettler , that werescented after various non-human organisms. Frank Bloem, Niklaus Mettler, Anisa Xhomaqi


Frank Bloem talking about the species smells that were created for Inhuman Carnaval - Frank Bloem talks about the olfactory installation Olfactory Cross-Dressing that is part of Inhuman Carnaval during Dutch Design Week. Visitors can disguise themselves as a different species through using these special hand sanitizers, scented after various non-human organisms.  Anisa Xhomaqi


Peter Roessingh presenting his research on pheromones - For this Odorama edition, evolutionary biologist and sensory physiologist Peter Roessingh speaks about species that disguise themselves as other species through smell. Anisa Xhomaqi, Peter Roessingh


A holiday from being human (GoatMan) by Thomas Thwaites - A picture from A holiday from being human (GoatMan) by Thomas Thwaites . During this project, he tried to become a goat in order to escape the fear inherent in being human. He ended up in the Alps, on four legs, on a goat farm, with a pen prosthesis on my chest, eating grass and becoming a goat. Thomas Thwaites


Odorama audience member smelling - During Odorama - Smelling species, the audience comes close to all kinds of smells related to other species.  Anisa Xhomaqi


Preparing blotters with some Elephant smell for the Odorama audience - During Odorama - Smelling species, blotters dipped in elephant smell are prepared to be handed out to the audience.  Anisa Xhomaqi