SCENT & SOUND: ODOPHONICS AT SDAI

  • San Diego Art Institute 1439 El Prado San Diego, CA, 92101 United States

In support of our current exhibition Sweet Gongs Vibrating organized by curator-in-residence Amanda Cachia, San Diego Art Institute (SDAI) presents Odophonics: An olfacto-sound performance by Brian Goeltzenleuchter and Sean Francis Conway, featuring Art of Élan. This performance for scent and chamber ensemble challenges current perceptions of how we experience smell and sound. The performance takes place at SDAI on Saturday, May 14th at 4pm.

Septimus Piesse, a 19th century French perfumer, introduced a vocabulary about smells, making use of musical metaphors such as "notes" (individual smells) and "chords" (combinations of notes) that are still used today in fragrance industries. In 1867 Piesse created an "Odophone," a literal scale of smells corresponding to different pitches in Western musical notation. By his own logic, scent chords could be formed. 

Using steam vapor and an industrial fan, Goeltzenleuchter introduces essences from Piesse's odophone in time with an arrangement for chamber ensemble composed by Conway and performed by Art of Élan. The notes played by the musicians will correspond directly to the smells outlined in Piesse’s Odophone. An ASL interpreter will also be present.

Admission is $5 general, $3 students, seniors, and military personnel. SDAI members and children under 12 admitted free.


*We recommend parking in the Veterans Museum parking lot off Park Blvd. Please arrive early and take the tram to SDAI for a pre-performance installation viewing.

*Pre-sale over, please purchase tickets at the door