Photo: Ekamelev, unsplash
May 06, 2019, 6–7:30 p.m.
Lecture and talk will be in English.
Registration is required (please see the form below).
On May 6, 2019, the exhibition closes at 4 p.m.
More or less all insects are heavily dependent on their sense of smell to find mates, food and oviposition sites, and to avoid enemies and harmful microbes. This trajectory of evolution has equipped them with an outstanding sense of smell that surpasses most other animals. But today we see a great decline in insect populations. That’s a serious problem also for humankind as we depend heavily on ecosystem services provided by insects, e.g. as pollinators and decomposers or as natural enemies of other, less beneficial insects.
In his lecture Prof. Dr. Bill S. Hansson, Head of the Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, will talk about the highly developed sense of smell of insects and how it allows them to go about their lives but also how they can be exploited. He will also present a study initiated by his department that examines how human activities – in the age of Anthropocene – affect the chemical language of insects. In particular he takes into account the effects of ozone, carbon dioxide and nitric oxides.
The lecture takes place as part of the exhibition “22 – Molecular Communication” by the artist Sissel Tolaas, which will be on view at the Schering Stiftung from April 11 to June 24, 2019.
For years, Sissel Tolaas has increasingly focused on ecological themes. How do smell landscapes change in the Anthropocene? How do the ubiquitous dirt and debris affect our individual and social lives in the big metropolises? In their conversation, Sissel Tolaas and Bill Hansson will discuss the impact of the Anthropocene on human and animal smell and behavior.
Sissel Tolaas, smell researcher and artist, maps and collects in an archive smells from all over the world. For the exhibition "22 – Molecular Communication" she investigates the smell of Müllerstraße in Wedding, Berlin.Learn more
The Schering Stiftung took the shared interest of scientists, artists, and creatives in smell as an opportunity for an interdisciplinary workshop.Learn more
Bill S. Hansson is a Swedish neuroethologist. He studied biology at the University of Lund. After his PhD in ecology and a postdoctoral stay in the United States, he became Professor for Chemical Ecology, first in Lund and, beginning in 2001, at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Alnarp. In 2006, he was appointed Director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, and Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society. Head of the Department of Evolutionary Neuroethology, Bill Hansson focuses on neurophysiological and behavioral aspects of interactions between insects and their host plants. His main research interest is insect olfaction: How do insects detect odors, how is semiochemical information processed in the insect brain, and how does olfaction affect insect behavior?
In 2010 the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena appointed him Honorary Professor. Since 2014, he is the Vice President of the Max Planck Society.
Sissel Tolaas studied chemistry, art, linguistics, and mathematics in Oslo, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Oxford. Since the 1990s, she has developed various smell archives and for seven years underwent an intensive smell training. One of her first urban olfactory research projects was presented at the 3rd Berlin Biennale in 2004. For that, Tolaas systematically researched and recreated the smells of the Mitte, Kreuzberg, Neukölln, Reinickendorf, and Charlottenburg neighborhoods of Berlin.
Shortly afterwards, she founded the Smell Re_search Lab, which is still located in Berlin-Wilmersdorf and is supported by the international company IFF (International Flavors and Fragrances).
Tolaas calls herself a “professional in-betweener” and is at home both in science and in art. She took part in the Art & Science project “Synthetic Aesthetics,” worked with scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics to develop a vocabulary to give precise verbal expression to smells, and has shown her work worldwide, including most recently at the Riga Biennale (2018), the Museum of Modern Art (2016/2010), the Hamburger Bahnhof (2017/2004), the Museum Tinguely (2015) and the Stiftung Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary in Vienna (2017–19).
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