A World Without Smell: A Visual Exploration of an Olfactory Issue
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A world where smell doesn’t exist. This is the reality for some people, including myself, who lack the ability to smell. However, in our culture, the sense of smell is undervalued, overshadowed by the visual. There are few words to describe smell, and there is a similarly small visual vocabulary for alluding to this highly elusive sense. Through the use of illustrated narrative, this research project aims to create more nuanced ways of visualising smell, as well as communicating and highlighting the effects of losing it. The culmination of this research project comes in the form of a graphic novel called Quincala, which imagines a world where most people are unaware of smell. The illustrations, therefore, both convey a narrative and create a way of visualising a sense that most of the characters cannot “see”. The narrative itself follows the protagonist, Drew’s discovery of this new sense and shows her transforming the way she perceives the world. Drew’s journey is thus reflective of my own auto-ethnographic journey through this research project.