- Osmodrama at the exhibition Welt ohne Außen. Immersive Spaces since the 1960s
Smell is our oldest sense, but it is so very often overlooked, we might even say that these image-predominant times have triggered a kind of osmophobia. We forget to consider the olfactory worlds as an expansion of the visual, spatial and tactile perception, particularly at the emotional level.
It's not at all easy to realise this until you actually stick your nose in it - as they say in Italy - and that's just what we think our readers should do if you're going to be in Berlin any time before 5 August. The exhibition called Welt ohne Außen. Immersive Spaces since the 1960s (World without outside. Immersive Spaces since the 1960s), curated by Tino Sehgal and Thomas Oberender is being held at the Martin Gropius Bau, near Potsdamer Platz. A collective event with a really impressive line-up of artists. Starting from the Light and Space Movement of the late sixties (Lucio Fontana & Nanda Vigo) works by contemporary artists such as Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Cyprien Gaillard, performances and workshops, this exhibition offers a wide variety of immersive practices that reduce the distance between subject and object. The immersive works can only be experienced in their respective timeframes - they need a starting point, a phase of immersion and a finale where you emerge - so the exhibition will develop using specific theatrical stagecraft, as the curators explain.
This forms the backdrop for the latest work of Wolfgang Georgsdorf (link): Quarter Autocomplete / Osmodrama via Smeller 2.0, an installation and synosmy. This interdisciplinary project introduces a new artistic practice: compositions of precise olfactory sequences that are performed alone or interacting with other art forms.
All this is possible thanks to the Smeller 2.0, an electronically-controlled scent organ, built to create predetermined sequences of odours. This 1.6-tonne instrument was installed and operated for the first time at the OK-Center for Contemporary Arts in Linz, Austria. Wolfgang Georgsdorf developed it in collaboration with experts in perfumery, olfactory science, ventilation engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science.
Visitors to the Martin Gropius Bau will be treated to Quarter Autocomplete in a large dedicated room. They have to pass through an airlock vestibule to get there to prevent contamination by outside odours. The audience can see the huge machine through a perforated screen. You need to take your time, sit down, switch off your electronics, close your eyes and give yourself up to the hic et nunc, really be in the moment so you can focus on the osmodrama presented by Georgsdorf. We don't want to spoil the surprise but what you will experience, accompanied by the gentle plop sound each time one of the 64 olfactory channels from the scent organ opens, are the adventures of our planet Earth and the genesis of life. All of which takes place through olfactory sequences that bring out long-forgotten memories, and they'll be surprisingly clear and strong - going way beyond the suggestive power of images.
Wolfgang Georgsdorf with Osmodrama confronts us with the sensorial richness of the olfactory sense, which is disappearing from this increasingly aseptic world, making us lose an important piece in the construction of our personal memory. Because it's easy to craft fake images, to create fake stories but there is no way of tricking our olfactory sense. If you don't believe us, stick your nose in it yourselves. You can visit and smell “Quarter Autocomplete” at the exhibition until 5 August.
Exhibition Welt ohne Außen. Immersive Spaces since the 1960s
curated by Tino Sehgal and Thomas Oberender
“Quarter Autocomplete” / Osmodrama via Smeller 2.0, an installation and synosmy by Wolfgang Georgsdorf
from 8 June to 05 August 2018
Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin
Images: see captions
imm18_p_woa_fontana_c_fondazione_lucio_fontana_foto_mathias_voelzke.jpg - © Fondazione Lucio Fontana, photo: Mathias Völzke
imm18_p_woa_wheeler_c_mathias_voelzke - © Doug Wheeler, courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London/Hong Kong, photo: Mathias Völzke