After a successful first workshop, the Community-Based Olfactory Research Group (CBORG) is using participant feedback to plan our next series of workshops. The biggest problem we had was a shortage in equipment, as all current equipment is sourced from the lead artist/researchers’ own inventory. Workshops require each participant to use a mix of tools, and we experienced severe bottlenecks as attendees had to share key equipment. Funding will allow us to address this problem, experiment with new topics (e.g. gas sensors) to incorporate, and then host our new expanded and improved workshop.
CBORG is a new roving research team working to make sensory education and research more widely accessible to communities around Chicago. We believe that our sense of smell is a skill and way of knowing the world that has been devalued by systems of power for centuries. In an attempt to reclaim this embodied knowledge as a site of legitimate learning, we’re beginning our collaboration with this series of workshops combining a primer in fragrance blending with an introduction to programming open-source hardware (Arduino microcontrollers), resulting in the creation of DIY diffusers (with a microcontroller and a custom-made scent) that the participants take home.
Our work is deeply community-based - we believe that people gathering to learn more about the powers of their bodies is radical and generative, and we’re committed to bringing these workshops to all parts of the city. Countering the historic inaccessibility of olfactory education, we are attempting to eliminate as many barriers as possible for folks to be able to participate in the work. Our programming will always be free (including take-home projects), and we serve snacks at every workshop. We’d like to also begin giving out transit passes to cover participants’ transportation costs.
Funded by Chicago, IL (June 2019)