[This project continued from Emotion Synthesis]

Set of devices to trigger emotions through smell

''... I feel shattered. The subtle plastic smell of floating tyres comes into my nose while standing in front of my doorstep;
I hear children laughing on their way to the swimming pool. The flittering shadows of birch leaves stroke my face. Obviously it’s summer – but I don’t like it any longer. I hardly remember the times of carefree summers, laying like a untouched cake in front of you. What happened to me? I always thought I could keep the child in me, the amazement of all day life. Something is missing and I desperately want it back. I feel like my foundation forms cracks. I hope the emotion factory will assist me to get back what I deserve...''


The machine and the container with the specific functions. The various container will be changed whilst the treatment is performed.

The operator speaks vocal trigger into a microphone, the machine reacts direct proportional to the audio input and performs an up and down- movement. The machine releases in several steps the molecular triggers found in food, chemicals and other materials in the adequate machine container and pumps it to a headset worn by the recipient.
As the spoken triggers grow more intense (more gentle, more emotional), the device works faster and provide a stronger rush of gas. The smelled triggers will enforce the emotion the operator planned to create.

As the recipient is emotional blunted the operator enforces as first step of the treatment fear and empathy to sensitise him.

The device releases Propanethiol S-oxide, a gas that is naturally found in onions to make the recipient cry. Tears are one of the most powerful embodiments of human emotion and represent the ideal first step of the treatment.

The next possible step is to comfort the person to settle down the previous emotion.

The device releases Theobromine, a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant. It can easily released from chocolate while melting the block. Theobromine also triggers the limbic part of the brain and causes well-being.

As a next step the device could instigate individual associations from almost forgotten memories. This would liberate the recipient and avoid the total overall-control of the operator.

The device squeezes a sponge soaked with disifectant solution. This smell is typical for hospital situations and doctor visits and often associated with uncomfortable situations, disease or loss. Smelling it could detect subliminal memory of personal narratives.

The result of the procedure is a synthesised emotional basis. Based on this the person can build up a more sophisticated and elaborated emotional repertoire.


The service can be called when necessary


The Olfactory System and its immediate connection to the brain.

The 'Odor Artist' Sissel Tolaas and her incredible collection of smells.

// Actors / John Marrow / Lisa Ma
// Many thanks / Frances Cook [Royal Botanic Gardens, Economic Botany Department]
// Many thanks / James Auger
// Exhibited at the Work in Progress Show 2010, Upper Gulbenkien Galleries, Royal College of Art