How do bodily anxieties and the leaking body haunt us outside the visual lens? How are qualities such embodied difference, horror, and disease perceived in the sensorial context of smell? What boundaries do we place on ourselves and on others to keep the oozing and wafting aromas of the horrors that lie within at bay and why? How and why do some smells haunt us? 

Project Description:

Societal fears surrounding disease and body horror are highly pervasive in aesthetic discourses in both the audio and visual lenses. However, bodies inflicted by the violence of biological failures and ruptures in mortal flesh are also accompanied by smells that can easily be overlooked in critical discourse. The leaking body is one that reeks. It distinctly captures the attention and forever haunts the memories of those confronted by fissures made in ascribed “normal” bodily functions and forms. The perception of others’ smells and the smells of diseases relates to both what has been characterised as a “primal” relationship with our own sense of smell, as well as a direction for emerging and new biotechnological possibilities for early disease detection. 

Lyndsey Walsh is fascinated by these cultural and social connections of biological materiality to the perception of disease. Building upon their creative practice and research that explores the relationship between genetic-based diseases, intergenerational trauma, and bodily identities, Lyndsey’s research sets out to explore the horrors potentially lying within our own bodies and the bodies of those around us. 

By looking at smell compositions associated with diseases and speculating on the potential vessel in which they can be experienced by human and non-human audiences, Lyndsey aims to critically analyse how leaking bodily materials intersect with cultural and societal fears. Lyndsey’s research also aims to place the aesthetic dimensions of smell within the context of horror by identifying and exploring how cultural and social responses to smell are articulated.  The combination of object-making, performative workshops, and speculation aims to examine why bodily leakiness may unsettle, disturb, and haunt us.