RTD2015 10 Kindred Spirits: Smell fictions + performative design research
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
This paper explores the associative power of smell
as a performative design research medium, to trigger episodic memories of addiction patients from Mistral rehabilitation clinic, The Hague. It describes the use of smell as a speculative and storytelling device, leading to the design of the Smell-Memory Kit: The Molecules That Matter, to support memory recall and conversations evoked by particular smells. The sensory research was used to discuss the impact of the physical space on the wellbeing of patients, leading to the co-creation of the Kindred Spirits species; design probes functioning as ‘companion species’, which allowed patients and staff to talk about underlying behaviours and motivations surrounding therapy, within the clinic’s ecosystem. In an interplay between the mundane and the fantastic, the project balances real needs with imagined desires, building on sensory experiences to encourage the contemplation of alternative perspectives to the promotion of longterm behavioural change in addiction therapy.