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Installation 25: Scent as Protagonist

Some words recently culled from the book "Smell of Risk" by Huan Hsu. Chosen to remind us how scent really can be a powerful player in society, race and politics on a global scale.





Atmo-orientalism – “A discourse that organizes political and cultural power by tethering olfactory perception to racial difference.” – Neologism and description by Huan Hsu


Sentence: Atmo-orientalism does the work of racialization on two level: as a discourse and as a strategy for producing space. – Huan Hsu, “Smell of Risk”.



Dialectical Odour - A complex smell that dramatizes the frictions between two ideologically opposed atmospheres. – Huan Hsu describing a word in his book “Smell of Risk” first used by Jim Drobnick’s essay “Toposmia: Art, Scent, and Interrogations of Spaciality.”


Sentence: In Rev. Al Sharpton’s eulogy for Duante Wright the police become the dialectical-odor of the scent of justice: a red flag of danger in the air if ever there was one.



Hypo-osmic – The opposite of hyperosmic, where smell is denied any time or space and a character/person hardly notices or thinks about smells to which they are continually exposed too. Huan Hsu coined this term when considering hyperosmic characteristics of detection and crime.


Sentence: The author wrote generously about the characters feelings, and beautifully crafted the context and scenery though the character remained hypo-osmic where scent was continually ignored.


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