Scents Swoon Audiences at LA Hammer Museum


This past weekend the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles re-staged a century-old ‘scent concert,’ designed to take audiences on an olfactory journey.

Titled, “A Trip to Japan in 16 Minutes: Revisited,” the show was organized by The Institute for Art and Olfaction (IAO), an organization founded in 2012 devoted to creative experimentation with a focus on scent.

According to the Hammer museum’s website, the origins of the show are rooted all the way back to New York in the year 1902:

“In 1902 the German Japanese poet, artist, and critic Sadakichi Hartmann, also known as the ‘king of bohemians,’ led a much-anticipated scent concert at the New York Theatre. Promising to suspend space and time, the concert was designed to offer an olfactory voyage from New York to Japan such that the ‘nose [was] guaranteed arrival in Yokohama.’ After many production delays, the concert was slotted as the penultimate act on a popular Sunday burlesque music and comedy series. The act was doomed to fail in a room filled with tobacco smoke and boisterous crowds. The artist bowed mid-performance amid catcalls and jeers and left the stage, never to revisit the project.”

The IAO picked up where Hartmann left off, hence the “revisited” part of the title. In case you missed the show (as did I, unfortunately), reviews have been positive, including this one from LA Weekly.

I personally would love to have more scents incorporated into concerts – we can all agree that the Red Bull and menthol variety at music festivals can get a little stale. Here’s to more ‘scent concerts’ in 2014.

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