How is the sense of smell engaged in interactive, playful and social experiences? Join artists and researchers Kate McLean, Simon Johnson, Heather Kelley, Simon Niedenthal and Ju Row Farr for an afternoon exploring the unknown limits of scent-enriched experience. The session starts with short scent-enhanced presentations from the artists, followed by open discussion of this poorly-understood but eminently rich area of creative practice. The event marks the studio debut of the interactive scent work which Heather has been developing during her Blast Theory residency, as well as an introduction by Kate of her latest Sensory Maps for the cities of Newport, RI and Amsterdam.


Dates: Thursday 21st November

Times: 2.30pm – 4.30pm

Location: Blast Theory, Unit 5, 20 Wellington Road, Portslade, Brighton, BN41 1DN

Tickets: This event is now fully booked.


About the Artists and Researchers


Ju Row Farr

Ju Row Farr is one of the founding members of Blast Theory.

Blast Theory is renowned internationally as one of the most adventurous artists’ groups using interactive media, creating groundbreaking new forms of performance and interactive art that mixes audiences across the internet, live performance and digital broadcasting – the group’s work explores interactivity and the social and political aspects of technology.

Internationally, the group as been represented at art fairs and festivals including Festival Escena Contemporanea, Madrid; the Dutch Electronic Arts Festival, Rotterdam; Biennale of Sydney; ArtFutura, Barcelona; International Festival for Dance, Performance and Media Arts, Koln; Palestine International Video Festival, Basel Art Fair and Art Meets Media: Adventures In Perception, ICC, Tokyo.

Currently, Ju lives and works in Portslade, Brighton.


Heather Kelley

Heather Kelley is an award-winning media artist, curator, and game designer who was named in 2013 by Inc. Magazine as one of the five most powerful women in gaming, which she disputes vociferously. Ms. Kelley heads her interactive and sensory experience design studio Perfect Plum, using her fifteen years experience in game and exhibition design to craft playful and meaningful experiences in both physical and digital spaces, including curation of 2012’s large-scale playful exhibition Joue le Jeu – Play Along at La Gaîté lyrique in Paris. Currently she is resident artist at Blast Theory, exploring the use of scent in interactive experience.


Kate McLean

Kate McLean is a Senior Lecturer Graphic Design, Canterbury Christ Church University and a designer, cartographer and collector of smells and their stories. Her research links sensory perception with urban environments in the form of sensory maps. She investigates how smell, in particular, can be used to generate memories of a specific place. Creator of 6 Smell Maps (Paris, Edinburgh, Glasgow, New York’s Smelliest Block, Newport (RI) and Milan) worldwide with Amsterdam nearly ready to show/sniff. She has two further studies underway (Another Smelly New York Block and a Smell Transect of Boston) Kate has exhibited internationally in galleries, museums, exhibitions, festivals and visitor centres. She has participated in broadcasts on BBC Radio and she and her work have featured on radio, TV, print and electronic media around the world including the UK, USA, Japan, Germany, Poland and France and speaks at conferences on Urbanism, Cartography and Design. Kate remains active as a graphic designer in the UK, USA and France and is a member of the International Society of Typographic Designers and the British Cartographic Society.


Simon Niedenthal

Simon Niedenthal is an Associate Professor of interaction design at Malmö University. His background is in literature, photography, computer graphics and virtual worlds design, and his research interests include digital game aesthetics and design process. He has published in scholarly journals that include the Journal of Architectural Education, Leonardo, Game Studies, Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture, and CyberPsychology and Behavior. He is also a frequent contributor to the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA) conference. In 2008 he defended his Ph.D. thesis Complicated Shadows: the Aesthetic Significance of Simulated Illumination in Digital Games which examines game lighting and its effect upon the emotions and behavior of the player.  Recently Simon has published “Skin Games: Fragrant Play, Scented Media and the Stench of Digital Games” in the journal Eludamos.



Simon Johnson from SlingShot

SlingShot are a games company with a global reputation, led by Simon Johnson and Simon Evans. Based in Bristol, they produce pervasive games, in a range of forms: from live events to mobile phone apps to high tech locative games and city centre festivals. Much of their work is a hybrid of technology mediated and live interaction, with a significant emphasis on context and location.

The two creative leads, Simons Johnson and Evans, have both been independently engaged with pervasive games for a number of years and bring complementary skills and experience to the partnership.

Simon Johnson trained as a designer and has a background in animation, giant puppetry and performance. After a number of years running Circumnavigate, an award winning youth focused digital agency, Simon spent several years for Blast Theory delivering games at international arts festivals and events. It was during this period that Simon set up the iglab, the world’s first pervasive games play-testing lab. That led to the creation of igfest our international street games festival. Since 2010 Simon has been directing 2.8 Hours Later, Slingshot’s hit zombie chase game. With more than 50,000 players to date 2.8 Hours later is the worlds biggest street game.