Diary of Smells

This site documents Diary of Smells, an on-going, multi-sensorial project by Josely Carvalho in which she directly uses natural and artificial scents as protagonists among other typically dominant visual and sound components in her installations.

(2011) URU-KU as disciplinas esquecidas / URU-KU the forgotten disciplines

URU-KU, the forgotten disciplines, a video installation, consists of 750 branches dipped in glue and urucum, a firing red condiment powder used in most dishes in Brazil. Besides its characteristic smell, this deep red powder is in use around the world as a substitute for the carcinogenic red dye. In this installation, the produced artificial smell of nest used in Nidus Vitreo  was substituted by the natural smell of urucum that unexpectedly impregnated the branches and the whole exhibit space.  The video I can’t smell him, is projected on a large wall behind the branches installation.

Sifting urucum powder

Sifting urucum powder

Brushing glue

Brushing glue on the wooden branches


Gluing urucum powder on the wooden branches

URU-KU, the forgotten disciplines, 2011. Installation: 750 wood branches dipped in urucum powder, video projection and the smell of urucum. Photo credit: Tom Boecht

(2011) Livro de Cheiros / Smell Book

Book of Smells is the result of my involvement with a community of descendents of runway slaves. After visiting, eating, smelling and spending time with them, I realized that the knowledge of medicinal herbs used by their ancestors and healers was disappearing with the younger generations. The installation Book of Smells consists of an archival changing book/object where medicinal plants were squeezed between its pages. A series of 18 inkjet photographs documented the changes occurred in the herbs during the 3 months residence. Most of the herbs dried but some grew again as a result of the humidity of the area. The book-object, placed inside a cabinet file drawer emanated a combination of changing in time herbal smells. Part of the concept of Book of Smells is to build an herbal garden open for town use in the residence space.

Livro das Cheiros installation

Book of Smells, 2011. Installation: object bookart & 18 photographs ink jet printed on Hahnemhule paper

Livro dos Cheiros, installation

Book of Smells, 2011. Book art object