The first part of Aylin Yildirim Tschoepe’s presentation was concluded with a group exercise on sensory mapping through smellscapes.


She offered a variety of scents to the participants, from environment to consumption goods (dirt, fresh grass, dust, pipe tobacco, rye bread). The task was not to guess the smell, but to discuss and define with a partner what memories or narratives of space are unleashed, what moments the respective scent took the participants back to.

This experiment showed that olfactory experiences are based on social and cultural experience, and have an underestimated potential to define space and memory as part of mapping. Scents open whole universes of meaning and memory and therefore lend a richness to mapping space – a thickness of description, which visually focused mapping alone does not convey.

Posted by:Dr. Carolin Genz

Dr. Carolin Genz is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Department for Cultural and Social Geography at the Humboldt-University and Research Associate in the Collaborative Research Centre 1265 "Re-Figuration of Spaces" in the project area "Knowledge of Space" at Technische Universtität Berlin. As an urban anthropologist in the intersecting fields of social anthropology, human geography, and urban studies, she constantly develops ethnographic methods to capture the socio-spatial constitution of urban practices. Her research focuses on spatial theory and practices of resistance, housing, and gender.

One thought on “Sensory Mapping through Smellscapes

  1. I find this experiment very interesting and a powerful memory generator methodology. It is hard sometimes to answer to some questions made at a certain moment, because the memory might be a little dusty. When you show this kind of methodology it works and I can tell you from my experience. Once my wife prepared me some food and the smell it generated sent me back in time at my childhood memories when I went at my grandparents house. After that I was able to recall lost memories.
    I have been reading and following your workshop outcomes and I really like them. Continue with the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

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