The virtual exhibition ‘Digitizing olfactory memories’ is now available. This exhibition is the result of the collaborative work of all the people who participated in the project ‘OdourCollect and elderly people: digitizing and co-creating our olfactory memory’, carried out with the collaboration of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology - Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities.

OdourCollect, an app developed by Science For Change to map the odours of the environment through citizen science, has been collaborating with FECYT in different initiatives throughout the years. This year, with the project ‘OdourCollect and elderly people: digitizing and co-creating our olfactory memory’ we have sought to connect olfactory memory with art and citizen science, encouraging the participation of the elderly.

We have carried out three pilot projects in different locations: Barcelona, Vilanova i la Geltrú and Ataun, in the Basque Country. Together with the participants of the 3 pilots and through olfactory walks, time travels to their olfactory memory and dialogues on the science of smell and its relationship with memory, they got down to work to create artistic objects. These objects narrated the experiences of the participants through their olfactory memory.

Noses, memory and hands to work!

The participants co-designed an artistic exhibition on olfactory memory, choosing the materials they were going to work with, the memories, and the storytelling of the exhibition.

The creative process of the different works of the participants was very enriching. During the creative moments, we could see how they got excited; remembering, playing with materialities and dialoguing to reach a common concept. It was also interesting to see the change of attitude of the participants before and after experimenting with some scents. At first, they were sceptical about remembering moments linked to smells, and then when they smelled them, they were soon able to narrate a moment in their lives linked to them, and began to remember other smells and moments.

Isidora Fernández

Creative producer

During the first pilot in Barcelona, at the Centre Cívic del Guinardó, the theme chosen by the participants was ‘Shaping the smells of childhood’ and they built three-dimensional objects out of cardboard.

In the second pilot project, at the Casa d’Empara Residence and Day Centre in Vilanova i la Geltrú, they opted for ‘Giving light to engrossed memories’ and created lamps painted with their memories, associated with important people in their lives.

Finally, in the LURLAB Space in Ataun in the Basque Country, they decided to ‘Give space to forgotten memories’. They painted on news of odour pollution in the territory and on the forgotten smells of the past, with fluorescent paints, to see them in 3D.

Through these works of art, a virtual exhibition has been created and can be visited here:

Digitizing olfactory memories:

But that’s not all! Follow the project closely, because as a result of the 3 pilots we have carried out, we will write a manual of good practices for the inclusion of older people in citizen science projects.

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