Pitchaya Ngamcharoen: Common Scents A Social Sense of Smell: Orientation, Territory and the Evidence of Beings


Advisor/tutor: Hypatia Vourloumis
Arnhem, June 2018


With a lack of smell, I am lost. Now I am in search of smell to reorient myself and to reclaim a subjectivity and a scentibility beyond the confine territory. Through this thesis I attempt to investigate the capability of smell and its relationship to bodies and societies, how smell orients us through lines of history and how it participates in the act of becoming "civilised." Inspired by In the Wake: On Blackness and Being by Christina Sharpe and the use of her own narratives as a starting point to theorize and analyze forces behind the "lines of direction" as a method of this writing. I also bring a theory of smell into practice, as theory and practice are inseparable. The thesis' narratives are selected by three main themes; smells that orients, smells that dis-place/disorient, and smells as evidence. These narratives guide the text through ideas of the sociology of smell through to group orientation negated by smells, how smell acts as invisible boundary that dissolves territory lines, how deodorization is used as a method of colonization, and how smells can show themselves as evidence of life.