[ISEA2008] Artist Statement: Mei-Kei Lai – Does it make scents to have fun?

Artist Statement

Computer games, along with most other digital interfaces, are primarily about sight, sound and physical movement, so it’s only logical that other senses could play their part as well. The artist is interested in how smell, the olfactory, can be incorporated into gameplay, not just as a novel addition, but as an integral element within the interaction between the player, the game and other players. In this artwork, players will need to navigate their way around a virtual environment using their sense of smell. Sniffing becomes a radical new interface for play, as players will need to recall certain scents in order to accomplish tasks. Players can communicate by triggering these aromas, deciding when and what scents to be emitted during the virtual navigation. Is olfactory gameplay fun or unpleasant? Does it increase immersion in the virtual? This is an ambitious and highly original experiment that reaches into areas of interactivity that are just starting to be explored.

Collaborating with: Mixed Reality Lab. The artist would like to thank Dr. Adrian David Cheok and all the lab members of Mixed Reality Lab.

  • Mei-Kei Lai (Macau)┬áis currently a lecturer in the School of Arts at Macau Polytechnic Institute. She is interested in exploring various kinds of non-conventional interfaces, especially olfactory display.

This project is partially funded by Macao Polytechnic Institute Research Grant.