Tue., October 18, 18:00 –

Urban Olfaction Workshop: Scent Mapping with Aaro Murphy


Tue., October 18,


18:00 - 21:00


FabCafe Tokyo



Experience and learn about the scentscapes of Shibuya 

Do you want to experience what kind of smells exist in Shibuya? 

Join this Urban Olfaction workshop, and connect with Tokyo in a new and explorative way. The event includes a smell walk where we are going to map the various scents found in Shibuya, a central Tokyo neighborhood. Through exploring the juxtaposition of highly synthetic smells and natural aromas that appear in our cities, the workshop hopes to highlight the sources of smells and their evocative link to memory. 

This workshop is facilitated by Aaro Murphy, who is a Finnish installation artist working with sound, scent, animation and glass. The event will include an artist talk as an addition to the scent mapping workshop. 

About (Urban) Olfaction

The sense of smell is more subjective than other sensory organs, and there are significant individual differences in the experience of smell. Designing fragrances and odor components  is a complex science, and not many people can master them. Every city is a complex environment that brings together people, cultures, architecture, commerce and nature. For city officials and planners, a lot of attention generally goes towards how a city looks and sounds. Yet the sense of smell, so often overlooked, is strongly linked to the creation of emotional memories. It contributes to our understanding of the world; it reveals otherwise hidden cultural practices, and it rounds up the experience of an environment. 

This olfactory workshop is a way to explore urban smells together, as smell design is attracting more and more attention as a new communication tool for art and design.

FabCafe has previously hosted other workshops where we went outside to become more conscious of the world around us. For example, the Living Machine Project was launched with the aim of emphasizing the importance of microbial diversity for a sustainable city and to stimulate the dialogue and discussion among city citizens.

This event is organized in collaboration with BioClub Tokyo, which is a citizen science community where various researchers, creators, companies, and citizens gather under the keyword “Bio” (biology and life science). 

For more than five years, people interested in various fields of science have been gathering and collaborating with experts in their fields to create new perspectives. Using the BioLab, an open lab that can be used by anyone. As a base of activity, we hold meet-up events, workshops, and project activities that challenge the realization of various science and technology using biology and nature as a source of creative ideas. The goal is to experience biotechnology and discuss the real sensations that come from it from various angles.

In this workshop you will …

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Artist Overview

Aaro Murphy is a Finnish installation artist working with sound, scent, animation and glass. His research explores techno-human relationships, and the poetics of machines. His work takes form as time based installations and kinetic sculptures, exploring boundaries between the organic and synthetic. A recurring theme in his practice is the ability for machines and complex mechanisms to adopt spatial agency – shifting between robotic beings and Instruments.

For the past 3 years Aaro has been developing a series of audi-olfactory instruments that project sound and smell. A series of custom glass flutes with synthetic aromas inside are programmed to play autonomously over time. A computer algorithm controls a series of compressed air vents which slowly release urban smells into the surrounding space.

Tokyo, Art & Science Research Residency

Aaro Murphy will dedicate his residency to the research of urban scents found in Japan. Setting up a research studio at the BioClub Tokyo, Aaro will collect scents from Tokyo during smell walks and site visits. Experimenting with various extraction methods the aim is to create a library of materials and smells synonymous with the city. Aaro will simultaneously research Headspace technology and machine olfaction. What interests Aaro in this scent capture technology is its potential for reconstructing spaces virtually through smell.

The residency is a collaboration with the Finnish Institute in JapanSOLU (the Finnish BioAart Society) and BioClub Tokyo.