The Crossmodalist Way: Smells, Sensibilities and Shenanegans!

What’s your sense of smell like? Do strawberries really smell like those sweets? What smell would you say this font belongs to? What does the smell of bubblegum instantly remind you of?

Exhibit A: Smells, Senses and Sentiments

Last month Miss Brown got round to Carousel London for the monthly gathering of Crossmodalists (yes I’m letting you in on a lil secret) to find out and try some experiences considering how we are conditioned to manipulate our sense of smell subconsciously and how much we take smelling for granted…probs because it’s always ‘on’ as we breathe, feel me?

Members at May’s gathering

You’re still wandering WTF Crossmodolism is huh? It’s an exploration of the senses through experiments, performances and practices using science, technology, food, art ( anything creative that challenges the senses). Interesting huh?

The handsome co-founders behind the 6th gathering are chef and ‘lab man’ Charles Michel, concert pianist, Chris Lian-Lloyd and former R&D expert at The Fat Duck, Daniel Ospina.

Charles Michel: Credits Joe Sarah photography

Negroni’s have become the Crossmodal beverage!

Workin’ it: Chris and Daniel with new attendee Inka!

May’s event was a good hang out- relaxed vibe and stimulating shenanigans went on (there was a serial kisser!)  and networking before the intriguing experiments!

Most of the fun lovin’ crowd were young and super talented either in the sciences, the arts, tech scene, research or mischievous like me!

When I got downstairs I was greeted with intimate lighting and a cute bar!

…no filter!

Chris got things started with some poetry ‘The Magic Sound’ which came with a message to ‘widen the area of consciousness’. Oooh! Then it kicked off with a smelling experiment by Professor Barry C. Smith.


We had to sniff various smells quickly and filled a questionnaire for each smell (what we thought the smell was, what it reminded us of etc). At the end we were given the correct answers- some of the results were shocking, for example I did not get ‘pineapple’ right, it didn’t smell like the artificial smells I am used to.. that’s when sh!t got real!#justsaying


#flexinmycomplexion With Najib Achaibou, perfumer and Crossmodalist

Experiment 2: Food Design and Innovation by Leslie Nooteboom

My kinda experiment

Leslie studied microfluidics (google it) and was inspired by a previous event to create an experiment with food and design, looking at making the experience of eating more enjoyable. I volunteered to try  a cocktail (ofcourse!) which had a lovely ginger and juniper smell. Leslie infused a ‘smell’ which matched the taste of the drink (weird right?) out of a pump into the air and changed the taste of the drink in my mouth. Bravo!

…a sip and a smell during Leslie’s experiment

He also explained a theory about the association with shapes/texture infuencing our perception of a flavour…

Leslie explains his theory

Two new volunteers came to try his lollipops to see if the idea could be realised. The textured flavours (angular shapes) seemed to alter the consumer’s experience.

Basic foundations of his research/ experiment

Experiment 4: Matching fonts to smells

Each tube had different things (chilli, mint, vanilla etc) and we had to choose which font went with the smell

Which font would you match with the smell of mint or vanilla? Go on, give it a go…

This was a very interesting one which showed a pattern, the curved fonts were associated with ‘sweeter’ and ‘pleasant’ smells.

The serial kisser strikes again…

Victim: photographer Joe Sarah

Experiment 5: The Multi-sensory Blast by Alexander and Najib

Eyes closed, eerie music on, I sniffed a piece of paper (yep all seems weird) then suddenly there was a blast of…smell!

Alex get’s ready to launch!

The piece was to find out if they could change the smell in a space on target- to music. A classic experiment to show “the persistance of energy in vortext”…so intense!

Experiment 6: Live Painting by Perfumes with artist Anna A Kolosova

Najib sprayed perfumes over Anna and the audience with calming music playing.

Najib sprays into the audience

Over time the tempo and style intensified. As Anna began to paint Najib would spray different perfumes around her…


Part of the reason for this collab is that Najib sees smells and can match them to colours. You have to be there to get the full experience with the smells, sounds and shenanegans…

What a mess of art!

The Crossmodalist way…

…We turned this accident into art!

Anna’s work went for a lap of honour and the gang tried to sell it at The Royal China restaurant in exchange for free dinners…

… It eventually took refuge at a Lebanese joint on Edgware Rd

Creativity and curiosity is what I’m about- especially when it brings together different people, backgrounds and disciplines without being elitist.

If you are of a curious nature and want to be a part of the movement or share an experiment/ idea/ performance check out the details below and get in touch.

The next event is at The Wallace Collection on 26th June at 1pm!

Be there or be…     an oblong!


Miss Brown says…Get down! ;D

2 thoughts on “The Crossmodalist Way: Smells, Sensibilities and Shenanegans!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s