Assignment [2]:

Assignment [1]:

The students

(1) researched and found existing examples of “Smell – Life – Technology”. They did not have to be something digital, but had to be something surprising, innovative, and interesting.  

(2) made short presentations using their own blog site: max. 5 min per person.



(3) made graphical notes on blank papers.

The notes made by me (Maki Ueda):




The notes made by students:




Smell, Life and Technology

Maki Ueda

Willem de Kooning Art Academy / Crosslab / Lifestyle and Design 
April 2010

7 April

- Introduction about my self – slide-show of my work
- Discussion – ‘what does smell mean to your life?’
- Brief introduction to smell and technology
- Assignment [1]: Research and find an interesting, existing example of “Smell – Life – Technology”. It does not necessarily use the digital technology, but it should be something surprising, innovative, and interesting.  You can use the internet as resources.

Explain briefly on your blog-site what it is about, and also why you got interested in it.  Make a presentation the next week with using your blog.

Presentation time: 3 to 5 min per person
Language: English (good chance to exercise this for you and me!)

Maki Ueda started her olfactory art course Smell and Art in 2009 at the ArtScience Interfaculty. In the course students learn a conceptual and abstract approach to the medium of smell. The use of smell goes beyond the representational use and focuses on its qualities and experience without a need for a narrative or context. The students are challenged to develop olfactory games using this approach. Furthermore, they learn chemical skills by extracting and composing smells to support their creations. The game format challenges our imagination: while we always have limited fragrance materials, we never stop thinking of new games. The Japanese traditional olfactory game Kodo is a good example of this.

course conception: Maki Ueda 
course given at: ArtScience Interfaculty of the Royal Academy of Art and Royal Conservatoire, The Hague, The Netherlands

hours: 36 to 48 hours

course website:


 The course includes:

  1. Kodo workshop / The Smell of Tale of Genji workshop 
  2. Extraction workshop
  3. Incense making workshop 
  4. Perfumery Basics workshop (+- 100 natural / synthetic materials, composition of the smell of rose)




Smell and Art
Maki Ueda

What is it that we are smelling, what does it make you imagine, what does it make you feel? Could we incorporate the olfactory sense in art? Could smell be a medium carrying information?

This course will deal with these questions through a combination of lectures, workshops, intermediate presentations and a final presentation.

In this course we will start with looking at examples of art and the olfactory sense, then we will discuss the potential of the olfactory sense in art.

The workshops will first focus on fieldwork and on observing the environment with the olfactory sense. You will smell a lot and learn how to communicate about smell with others, using a basic vocabulary for analyzing and expressing the character of a smell.

Secondly we will extract smells from raw materials like soup, cheese burgers, old books, rubber tyres, flowers, and smelly T-shirts. You will learn how to do this yourself and how to compose new smells (in the most simple way).


In this course you will

  • (have to) smell a lot
  • learn about smell and olfaction
  • find another (hidden) dimension in the world
  • become aware of smell and that leads to a joyful, healthy, and long life (!)

There are many ways of using smell in art. You might want to perfume orange smell to your orange-colored painting, or you might want to add rose smell in an exhibition space where you show an installation that symbolizes love.

Most of the people only see the practical side of smell. Smell is like an additives that gives a good side-effect: it functions to make you feel relaxed or happy.

What we want to achieve in this course is a bit deeper than this.

Smell has a great potential as a medium. Let's use this course as a place to experiment. We'll focus onthe theme smell and communication. You'll receive an final assignment (mini-project) under the theme of "olfactory game".