How can smell function as a social organiser?
Doubting Cottard is a lecture and workshop exploring the material qualities of smell. Cottard, refers to the three year-old character in by Albert Camus’ book The Plague. In this lecture, the all male dialogue in Camus’ book has been translated into a female rhetoric, aiming for an exchange between narrative, language, the bodily authority of voice and the social implications of odour.
The short lecture will transition into a workshop with an introduction to how we smell, curated by the artist Michelle Mantsio. Through the exploration of olfactory thresholds, the workshop aims to bring attention to the disruptive potential of smell and challenge how a human can extend to use different senses. Participants will be asked to smell a variety of scents provided. In response to this, they will experiment with distances, descriptors and the effect of working with different participants.
On the basis of these findings participants will be asked to explore their response to the political implications of these smells. Could they be disruptive to a dominant narrative? Generate new meanings? Contribute to a feminist methodology? Experimentation is welcomed and encouraged.
The workshop will conclude with a discussion on how these responses to smell could be further explored as a catalyst to re-imagine public space and agency.
Open to adults and children of all ages.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Michelle Mantsio’s art practice is research-based; she undertakes interviews and fieldwork that become instructions that guide her subsequent art-making. She completed a degree in Fine Art with Honours and a Master of Art in Public Space at RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently completing a PhD at VCA, Melbourne. Mantsio is a member of the Melbourne writing collective Stamm. Mantsio has participated in numerous international workshops, think tanks, symposiums and conferences and has exhibited nationally and internationally.