Scenting Relations: Exploring Smell-Worlds through Zine-Making

Coleman Nye, Simon Fraser University; Mathew Arthur, Simon Fraser University;

Toronto 2021: Storytelling as Relations

This workshop approaches smell as a mode of inquiry into our worldly relations, asking how the nose knows. The act of smelling opens into a complex array of entanglements, complicities, histories, and vulnerabilities: How does scent sensitivity register non-consensual and non-visible, but deeply embodied chemical relations? What kinds of epistemic anxieties arise from the loss or absence of smell and our capacity to sniff out dangers? What kinds of complicities surface when we attend to the chemical-moral-material infrastructures that shape our scent-worlds, articulating around questions of odor and civility, fragrance and intimacy, memory and emotion, design and desire, categorization and convention, human and more-than-human?

The workshop invites participants to “follow their noses” through a set of scent-based prompts around the relations that scent surfaces or submerges. Participants will be invited to respond to each prompt through drawings, text, and/or images. We will compile these scent stories into a digital zine for circulation. The zine format cites modes of non-traditional and collective modalities of knowledge production and transmission, while still reckoning with the limits of textual-visual formats in conveying scent. The zine format also archives and invites participatory modes of engagement, asking readers to populate the pages with their own smelly enmeshments and speculations.

Published: 01/30/2023