Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Scratch and sniff events at theaters: the scent of the movies

Japanese house surrounded by nature. How great it must smell! Picture from
Architecture and senses. Here is another example, not exactly for architecture, but I can imagine it must be interesting to be sitting at the theater, watching a movie, and in the meanwhile participating with our senses. My husband reminded me that in Farenheit 451, Bradbury mentions a tactile sensation at the theater, I don´t remember, I have to read the book again. The system explained here is a simple board containing different fragrances, that you put below your nose. This is an excerpt from the article by Leonie Cooper, for
¨Scratch and Sniff, is a series of events aimed at enhancing our understanding of the arts through smell. Each month, a group of around 40 people gather to sniff perfume while watching film clips, or listen to talks about geography and history. This event is called Scent of the Movies and involves sampling unusual scents like Jasmin et Cigarettes, and then matching them to film clips – the idea being to make us think of what a film might smell like.
James Craven, a perfume expert, gives my thoughts about Jasmin et Cigarettes a nudge: "Like Garbo, Dietrich or Harlow in a satin gown," he says. I find myself starting to imagine that sultry 30s starlet Joan Crawford. Suitably stimulated, we watch Marlene Dietrich, dressed for the cabaret, in the 1930 film The Blue Angel. "What does this scene smell like?" asks Lizzie Ostrom, co-founder, with Craven, of Scratch and Sniff. "Sweat!" one man shouts. Other more pleasant suggestions include powder, patchouli and hairspray.
This isn't the first time fragrance has been used to intensify an artistic experience. Walt Disney wanted to spray auditoriums with jasmine and incense during screenings of the 1940 film Fantasia. Then there are the famous failed attempts to introduce smell to TV and cinema audiences in the 1950s, such as AromaRama and Smell-O-Vision. The film-maker John Waters lampooned these in his 1981 film Polyester. Before the film started, cinemagoers were given a scratch-and-sniff card featuring such delicious odours as pizza and farts.¨

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