The Mechanics of Smell: Fugitive Fragments

When we smell something, it means that volatile molecules floating through the air, having escaped their source by becoming vapor, have made their way into our noses and up to our olfactory receptors behind our eyes. Fugitive, invisible fragments of the world around you enter your body with every inhale—smell is the body’s way of being attentive to this. When you smell a flower, it’s because minuscule pieces of that flower made their way through the air and into your body. When I visualize this, I think of paintings by Alex Kanevsky. Every fragrant object shifting and shimmering, the buzzing hub of a swarm.

Paintings above by Alex Kanevsky.

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