CROSSOVER BORÅS 2017, the 18th conference of the European Textile Network, ETN, took place on 12-19 September. The conference aimed to present a global perspective on the different textile practices and their interactions – with a special focus on sustainable creativity and innovation in Textile Art&Design.
One of the many workshops during the conference week was organized by Jyoti Kapur from ArcInTexETN. The alluring title of the workshop was Playing with Smells.
In this workshop the participants, divided into teams, would design ways of introducing smells in an object made of textiles. The discovery of how the smell diffuses becomes a method of exploring the material in a playful way.
The aim of this workshop was to create games for interacting with smells by exploring different textile materials, shapes and forms of different sizes. Some smells were pleasant and others were not. The workshop intended to bring back the attention to human instinctive senses of touch and smell through the physical materials.
A multi-sensorial experience
The idea of creating games was to provide a multi-sensorial experience and playful interaction with the textile objects and materials. It is challenging to distract the attention onto something analogue in the midst of the fast and digital way of interactions within our environment. However, the sense of smell does not need a conscious attention, the smells around us send messages even without being focused on the source of smells.
These messages sent by smells are interpreted subjectively based on individual experiences, and learnt associations, for example disgust or appeal. The reaction or reflex to smells happens while the other senses are stimulated at the same time. However, to be able to make the experience with smells more tangible, the interactions in the games are designed through the sense of touch. This gives a sense of almost a synesthetic experience.