cultural production / video


So, no: we didn’t actually hack scent communication in one weekend. (Did you really think we would?) But we tried, and sometimes that’s what really matters. We gathered and talked and smelled, and then we talked some more, and ate and laughed a lot, and then smelled some more still (there was lots of cabbage… don’t ask). It really was amazing to be surrounded by people where we can totally nerd out by talking about our favorite topic, scent, without needing to explain or apologize or feel like freaks. And after we got headaches from all the smelling, we split into small teams to “hack” something scent related, and our team decided to hack the absurdity of it all!

At some points, it was truly disorienting how subjectively different the experience of the same scent can be. And people were getting really creative: even those who weren’t actually high on the air of Amsterdam were embracing the spirit of it. We sang about scents, hummed about scents, and gesticulated and emoted, and gestured and grunted, and some of us even danced about scents. So our little team felt, to misquote Camus or Enesco or someone, it’s somehow absurd to try to communicate about scent through other media. So, to convey it, we decided to create a scent with the difficult-to-classify synthetics we were trying to hack.

In the spirit of the absurd, we picked ingredients A-B-S-U-R-D (you see where this is going?). And then, for the heck of it, we also added (H) and some naturals (!). Et voila, Eau de l’ABSURD(H)! And because this was about the absurdity of trying to communicate about scent through other media, we wrote a poem using descriptors that were used for these ingredients, and made an audio-visual presentation of it. So, here without further ado, is our little video (since we can’t communicate the scent to you online, just use your imagination):

A superdry antiseptic sound of a slice of the metro turned the air red like tar.

In the hospital, a faint opaque hole was dripping green blood. The smell of it slowly blended with the remnants of electric mold coming out of the Berghaim toilet, where we met for the first time.

I can still remember the cello soft natural tones of your voice when you said my name.

Now, the idea of that moment invades my heart like liquid shoe polish.

In the copper top of the rusty pyramid we are now caramelized in the spirit of a children’s choir looping chants

in high pitched voices.

A cloud of babies on wet concrete just passed me by and I was left melancholic and missing your habit of chewing minty Teletubbies on a rainy day.

Now, it’s 5am and I am having vodka with extraterrestrial English licorice juiced into a metal cup, which feels like when you touch a battery with your tongue.

Our love is like a rusty singular river running through waste like a liquid Cleopatra in her pool of warm milk.

I miss you.


  • Miguel Matos
  • Marta Siembab
  • Liza Witte
  • Éva-Marie Lind
  • Eddie Bulliqi
  • Ashraf Osman
  • Andreas Wilhelm

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