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.

(2010) Nidus Vitreo

Nidus Vitreo (Glass Nest) is an outcome of a long examination of our need to be sheltered in a moment in history where our sense of home has been shifted by the insecurities brought by ethnic wars, migrations, political divisions but mostly, the state of fragility of our environment.  It started with a photograph of a small bird that in the process of building its nest crashed towards its own image reflected on a glass window, perhaps a suicidal bird. It was a search for an essence – a primitive and powerful beginning where the sense of smell is present with its connection to memory. The installation is a large and yet, intimate construction of 1000 branches sculpted with the strength of avian architecture and molded in the fragility of glass resin. The construction takes approximately 160 sq ft floor space covered with a mirrored film skin. The sound & the projected texts from a smell/memory/blog are manipulated algorithmically through a randomized live computer program and sequence and time are never repeated. (http://www.joselycarvalho.net/blog/diaryofsmells)

Nidus Vitreo

Nidus Vitreo, 2010. Installation: 1000 resin glass molded
branches, mirrored film floor, original smells (smell of nest, smell of hot sun, smell of wet earth) projection, 6 channel sound design, computer programming. Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro. Photo credit: Bogado.


The accord NEST brings solace, nurture, and protection that man so desires. Fresh, transparent, and pleasant notes that hold and clothe us, bring us security, and, at the same time, reveal human fragility and our desperate need to feel protected. (from Nidus Vitreo catalog, Givaudan do Brasil)

Nidus Vitreo

Nidus Vitreo, 2010. Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro

Nidus Vitreo

Ich Kann Ihn Nicht Riesen, smell video installation (smell of open sea). Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro, 2010.

Cheiro de Mar Aberto

Cheiro de Mar Aberto




Programa Especial – TV Brasil


(2010) Ich Kann Ihn Nicht Riesen / I can’t smell him

Ich Kann Ihn Nicht Riesen / I can't smell him. Smell/Video, smell of open sea created in collaboration with Givaudan do Brasil. 2010.


The smell/video Ich kann ihn nicht risen/ I can’t smell him depicts the traveling of my avatar, Tracajá, a small yellow spotted turtle facing extinction from damming and water diversion projects in the Amazon basin, through the Gulf of Mexico to inspect the worst oil spill in U.S. history that has turned stretches of the area into a lifeless ocean in 2010. It also brings to surface the Chevron oil spill in the Bacia de Campos, Rio de Janeiro. The smell of open sea – a mixture of salty water, oil and ammonia for dead fish – is dispersed along with the video projection.

(2008 – 2009) Architectando

The development of the installation/project Diary of Smells:Nidus Vitreo dates from 2007 when the first resin glass branches were molded. The first installation, constructed of 250 branches, was Architectando. It was followed by Architectando: Elias’s Nest with 500 branches and six photographies in 2009.


Installation: 250 glass resin molded branches, mirrored film floor, photographic panel, smell of jasmin


Installation: 500 glass resin molded branches, mirrored film floor, photography & smell of jasmine. Shown at the Museu de Arte Contemporânea / MAC, São Paulo, 2009. Photo credit: João Caldas


It was only in 2010, that Diary of Images:Nidus Vitreo was shown at the National Museum of Fines Arts in Rio de Janeiro with 1000 branches, sound, projected smell texts, video, and four original smells.

Smell, the first and most primitive of our senses

Photography; ink jet print on Hahnemuhle paper. 2008

only the memory of a smell

a bird crashes into a window mesmerized by its own reflection

Photography; ink jet print on Hahnemuhle paper

Photography; ink jet print on Hahnemuhle paper. 2008. Size; 33.5in x 43.3in

Bednest 1253

Bednest 1252. 2008. Photography; ink jet print on Hahnemuhle paper


The eternal human necessity to be physically and emotionally sheltered has been a major force in Josely Carvalho’s artwork. In this new visual artist’s book, she directs her focus to the lights and shadows of the negotiation process of intimacies. Her photography is constructed of dramatic scenarios containing an erotic allusion pulsating through life and death, complicity and annihilation.

Entre os Lençóis / Between the Sheets includes fragments of her poetry written in English and Portuguese, over the course of several years.

Available at:  http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/395604

Between the Sheets / Entre os Lençóis