LASER Talks Brussels: The olfactory experience as a new language with Peter de Cupere and Piet Devos

The 7th edition of LASER talks Brussels will take place on Sunday 12 June at 5pm as part of the Festival of the New European Bauhaus. We will be talking about the importance of the olfactory experience with Peter de Cupere and Piet Devos.

The olfactory experience is accessible to people of different cultures and with different abilities. It might actually become a new language for dialogue about common human values and needs.

In the animal world the olfactory system plays one of the most important roles to help animals to survive. In order to hunt, to recognize enemies and friendly species, smells warn them of potential danger. Humans perceive smells with each breath and while still inside of the womb their olfactory sensor is fully developed at the age of 7-8 months. But later humans loose half of these capacities. During the last two decades, doctors and researchers, from neuroscientists to the humanities, have sought to better understand the sense of smell, the way it shapes our everyday life, our emotions, feelings, our eating preferences, its role in creating memory and its functioning in our social interactions.

As part of the The Festival of the New European Bauhaus, LASERtalks Brussels invites artist and researcher Dr. Peter de Cupere and scientist and author Dr. Piet Devos to discuss their work on the importance of smell in human and nonhuman interaction. The talk is moderated by Alexandra Dementieva and Edith Doove.

The Festival of the New European Bauhaus brings together people from all walks of life to debate and shape our future. A future that is sustainable, inclusive and beautiful. It is a great opportunity to network, exchange and celebrate – from science to art, from design to politics, from architecture to technology.

Peter de Cupere

Peter de Cupere is the most prolific and proactive proponent of olfactory art in the world and an expert in the field of the olfactory system. In collaboration with a number of visually impaired assistants he has developed a shared system of writing for the blind to create an olfactory alphabet, the ‘olfabet’.

Piet Devos – photo Michiel Devijver

Piet Devos is an author, translator and literary scholar. At the age of five he became blind due to retinal cancer. These experiences of illness and disability are very important for who he is today. They have shaped him as a person, as a writer and researcher, but also as an activist for a greener and more inclusive world.

Alexandra Dementieva is a multimedia artist. Like an explorer she raises questions related to social psychology and theories of perception suggesting solutions to them by contemporary artistic means.

Edith Doove (PhD) is a curator, writer and researcher, specifically interested in notions of emergence and contingency, cross and transdisciplinary collaborations.

iMAL, Sunday 12 June at 5pm

30 Quai des Charbonnages
Koolmijnenkaai, 1080 Brussels

The Leonardo/ISAST LASERs are a program of international gatherings that bring artists, scientists, humanists and technologists together for informal presentations, performances and conversations with the wider public. The mission of the LASERs is to encourage contribution to the cultural environment of a region by fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and opportunities for community building to over 50 cities around the world. To learn more about how our LASER Hosts and to visit a LASER near you please visit our website. @lasertalks

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