Antti-Ville Villén (formerly Kärjä) is Professor of the Cultural Study of Music at the University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland. He is currently realigning his research from music-centred issues to broader questions of multimodal and multisensory epistemology. His recent publications include a Finnish-language article about smells in wildlife films, and the monograph The Popular and the Sacred in Music (Routledge, 2022).
I work at CRASSH as Oskar Huttunen Fellow, affiliated with Clare Hall College. During my visit, I aim at finishing a monograph manuscript entitled Introduction to Olfactory Cultural Studies. The underlying research concentrates on the role of smells and olfaction in meaning-making and knowledge production in the context of art and the media. Particular emphasis is laid on the role of olfactory phenomena in the construction of cultural identities and thus on the importance of odours in intersectional postcolonial societal and cultural dynamics. From an epistemological stance, at issue are sensory hierarchies and their formation, as well as multisensory modalities. This entails examining how odours facilitate challenging and reexamining cultural axioms and institutionalised categorisations. Methodologically, the stress is on furthering the field of so-called multimodal critical discourse analysis, with an emphasis on the role of olfaction in multisensory production of meaning and knowledge in relation to the changes in media technology. To this end, at issue is a critical reassessment of the contemporary emphasis on ‘visual culture’ and digitalisation.