Sillage – The Institute for Art and Olfaction

by Brian Goeltzenleuchter + IAO
June 28, 2014
Santa Monica Museum of Art
Event information


Sillage is a participatory olfactory artwork and collaborative endeavor with artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter, the Institute for Art and Olfaction, Santa Monica Museum of Art, and you.

Throughout the day, Goeltzenleuchter shares neighborhood-specific scents with SMMoA patrons and creates a collective scent-scape of Greater Los Angeles.

Scents are selected based on where the participant lives, and sprayed onto their left wrist. As museum patrons arrive, their assigned scents intermingle to create a live scent-scape of LA’s geography.

Neighborhood scents were selected based on a pre-event survey created by the artist, where the public was invited to interpret neighborhoods of LA through scent attributes.

Sillage took place inside the exhibition Robert Swain: The Form of Color, an immersive exploration of color and its effects on perception.


BrianG_250Goeltzenleuchter was raised in Southern California in a culture that placed great value on consumption, display, and performance. Goeltzenleuchter’s artwork and design infuses interdisciplinary research into the creation of designed environments, scripted and improvised performances, olfactory art, and multimedia presentations. The locus of his practice is the Contraposto Home Decor Company, a socially engaged, interdisciplinary artwork that takes the form of a legitimate business. Goeltzenleuchter is interested in antagonism as a generative tactic; his recent work attempts to pit the social benevolence of community-based practices against the trickery and spectacle of the aesthetic or designed environment. Through conducting events designed to destabilize – to function outside of the socially-prescribed behavior of either an artwork or a business – he attempts to test propositions without coercing prescribed outcomes.


‘What does L.A. smell like? An artist is trying to put it in a bottle’, LA Times

‘Smells like … a Westsider: All wet lawn and the sweat of a trophy wife’, LA Times Blog

‘Weed, Motor Oil, and 19 Other Things That Smell Like Los Angeles’, NY Magazine