Sissel Tolaas is a smell researcher and artist. She is born in Norway and currently based in Berlin. Tolaas studied mathematics, chemical science, languages, and visual art. Since 1990, her work has been concentrated on the research topics of SMELL / SMELL & LANGUAGE – COMMUNICATION, within the realms of sciences, art & design and other disciplines. In 2004, with support from the International Flavors & Frangrances Inc. (IFF), Tolaas established the SMELL RE_searchLab Berlin and in 2010, Tolaas founded the Institute of Functional Smells. Her research has won recognition through numerous national and international scholarships, honours and prizes including the 2014 CEW New York award for chemistry & innovation; the 2010-2014 Synthetic Biology / Synthetic Aesthetics Award from Stanford and Edinburgh Universities with a residency at Harvard Medical School; the 2010 ArsElectronica Award in Linz, Austria; and the 2009 Rouse Foundation Award from the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). Tolaas is recently a founding member of the International Sleep Science and Technology Association, China/United States/Africa/Europe, as well as a founding member of FUTURE OF EDUCATION, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Future Education Platform, Berlin Palo Alto. Her projects and research have been presented in several institutions such as: Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) New York, United States; MOMA San Francisco, United States; Fondation Cartier, Paris; Museum of Modern Art Berlin, Germany; Tate Gallery, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Venice Biennale of Art as well as Architecture; and National Art Museum of China. Tolaas has been doing City SmellScape research of and for 52 cities including Amman, Berlin, Calcutta, Cape Town, Kansas City, London, Mexico City, Nuuk, Oslo, Paris, Shanghai and Stockholm.
Fellowship period: 1 July – 31 December 2016
During her fellowship, Sissel Tolaas will be carrying out fieldwork and research on everyday smells in urban environments: smell and tolerance, smell and communication, smell and navigation, etc. Her research focus is on the smell identities of Singapore's diverse neighbourhoods. Tolaas will carry out fieldwork in selected neighbourhoods, particularly areas that have been developed by Singaporean architect William Lim. She will collect and investigate the smell phenomena of each neighbourhood, mapping these neighbourhoods according to their smells. The outcome of Tolaas' research will be presented in NTU CCA Singapore's forthcoming exhibition Incomplete Urbanism: Attempts of Critical Spatial Practice.