Anette Stenslund

Ambient plasticity: aesthetics of the hospital

 Anette Stenslund is a visiting researcher at the Centre for Sensory Studies, Concordia University. As MSc Cultural Sociology and PhD Candidate at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, she investigates everyday aesthetics and is currently exploring the atmosphere of the hospital by emphasizing smell impressions.

To most people the hospital smell is unpleasant and uncomfortable: Why is that? How does it smell and how do smell experiences take effect when entering this functional environment loaded with gravity? It seems that the smell of the hospital has turned into a myth: Why is it so? The work suggests a multi-sensuous approach for perceiving phenomena like this. There is more to smell experiences than pure smell as they are e.g. ‘coloured’ by moods, sensations and a being-in-the-world in time and space. As follows, the vapours of the hospital deserve further cultural investigation.

The epistemological challenge dealing with smell (a phenomenon hard to grasp in words) requires a phenomenological sensitive aesthetical approach. This is accomplished through cross readings of phenomenological thinkers comprising philosophers, sociologists, anthropologists, and cultural geographers respectively.

For further reading:

Anette Stenslund is contributing co-editor of the forthcoming special issue on phenomenology of the Danish anthropological academic journal Tidsskriftet Antropologi:

Also she is co-editor of the academic journal Seksualiteter at Centre for Research in Sexuality, Department of Sociology, Copenhagen and author of Når spillet stemmer lysten. A book presently available in Danish on lust, seduction and sexualities: