Sniffing others

"Sniffing others" - a project by Susana Soares explores the development of tools that will allow us to perceive through smell other people's genetic code.

Sniffing others

Sniffing Others: First socially accepted nose plug

How can we perceive a genetically compatible mate?
"We know that smell is an important cue. People literally sniff out their partner" as described in the New Scientist of May 2006, however half of our smell receptors have fallen into disuse, but if stimulated could become active again.
Also recent studies have demonstrate that women taking the contraceptive pill decrease their ability to detect odors, preferring genes similar to their own, eventually choose a mate who is not genetic suitable.

Smell augmentation would be developed gradually through the use of several accessories.
Not only would new technologies have to be developed to assist humans in fine-tuning their noses, but also notions of what is socially acceptable would have to be refined, so any adaptation will not be automatically accepted.
The timeline explores how culturally and socially these new smelling perceptions might be absorbed into our everyday lives through new kinds of interactions. Starting with nose related items that would stimulate our smell receptors, to cloth that would emphasize scent glands such as the t-shirt and the neck collar, to nose plugs that activate smell.
As time passes and sense of smell gets stronger perhaps as an evolving step long hair grow out of your nose.

Sniffing Others is one of two projects (the other one being Genetic trace) that were created in the context of New Organs of Perception: perhaps in the future, as a consequence of genetic technologies we will need new organs of perception or to increase and augment existing perceptions, like smell, that were neglected in a visual based society.

Our technology is been focus on stimulating our visual and audio capabilities, but new advances in areas such as genetics, biotechnology and nanotechnology are changing our own nature due to technology, in a way that we cannot perceive.


Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation

Royal College of Art, Design Interactions Department: Professor Anthony Dunne and Ms. Fiona Raby

Geofrey Miller, Evolutionary Psychologist


Smell extract experiment by Susana Soares (2012) from V2_ on Vimeo.

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