A Culture of Human Cheese

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Smell is one of those senses where context can play a huge role. A fine cheese and a dirty foot share the same molecular smells, yet one is a delicacy and other is repulsive. In an effort to toe the line on this attract/repulse interplay, artist and scent researcher Sissel Tolaas collected bacteria from people, and used it to make cheese. In away, she has created a line of personalized dairy products.

More videos from this series: Scents and Sensibilities

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Date: Saturday June 4, 2011
Time: 03:00 PM-04:30 PM
Venue: Tishman Auditorium at The New School
Moderator: Juju Chang
Participants: Leslie Vosshall, Sissel Tolaas, Consuelo De Moraes, Avery Gilbert

What does fear smell like? Love? Can we use scent to control behavior? Do humans really sense pheromones? What if you could diagnose diseases just by smelling them? And exactly how does our brain convert floating organic molecules into chemical signals that our brain processes as odor? Over hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors learned to encode specific scents with information that saved their lives. Many species still depend heavily on smell for their daily survival. Described as "the most direct pathway to the brain," olfaction...[Read more]