Sissel Tolaas

Dublin Core


Sissel Tolaas


Sissel Tolaas is a smell researcher and artist. Since 1990 she has collected an archive of 7,800 scents and has conducted City SmellScape research of and for 52 cities around the world.

Research Focus

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.


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Smell researcher

Biographical Text

Sissel Tolaas (Norway/Germany) has a background in mathematics, chemical science, languages, and visual art. Since 1990, Tolaas’ work is concentrated on the topic of SMELL/ SMELL & LANGUAGE – COMMUNICATION within different sciences, fields of art/ design, and other disciplines. She established the SMELL RE_searchLab Berlin in January 2004, supported by International Flavors & Fragrances Inc. (IFF); founded the Institute of Functional Smells in 2010; and is recently a founding member of FUTURE OF EDUCATION, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Future Education Platform, Berlin Palo Alto. Tolaas’ research and projects are recognised internationally and have been presented in several institutions including dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel, Germany; MOMA, New York, United States; Tate Gallery, Liverpool, United Kingdom; Venice Biennale, Italy; and National Art Museum of China, Beijing, China. To date, she has conducted City SmellScape research for 52 cities including Paris, Stockholm, Nuuk, Kansas City, Berlin, Oslo, Mexico City, London, Calcutta, Cape Town, Amman, Shanghai, and now Singapore, among others. Tolaas was a Visiting Research Fellow at NTU CCA Singapore in 2016.

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“Sissel Tolaas,” NTU CCA Singapore Digital Archive, accessed September 26, 2023,