Invisible things by Noëlle Maline

With the flicker of a bird .. I prefer distractions and being interrupted . These days , I am a luggage organizer , book filer and background diorama painter .. I look at the night sky and watch old films .. Collect shadows and uncertainties .. I make art with fragments and broken images .. Paper , things and sounds .


the arduous archive

i have been putting together an archive 
of things that i have been 
going through..
boxes of of my family's things
and then other things that i come across in
other boxes.
boxes and boxes..

this is a little suitcase of orphans from bohemia.

go to


..on collecting scents

something very fascinating and intriguing to me..

on my list of invisible things.

a memory of when i first heard about about this was a reaction of
What The .....
and then ongoing puzzlement.

they would sneak into people's apartments and steal their underwear or pull hair from the drain.

When the Berlin Wall fell, the Stasi headquarters were ransacked. In a small room revellers found hundred of jars labelled with people’s names and stuffed with pieces of fabric. These pieces of fabric contained the smell of hundreds of people that the secret police considered to be dissenters, and were to be used to train East German smell hounds. The jars can now be seen in the Stasi Museum in Berlin.

There were a number of tactics that the Stasi used to collect smells, originally they handed the subjects a yellow cloth and asked them to wipe an armpit or groin. Then they invented "the smell sample chair", a perforated metal chair with a tray underneath the seat where they put the yellow cloth to collect sweat and scent which dropped down. Finally, they also broke into peoples homes and stole their clothes and underwear.

In 2007, the German authorities revived this tactic and started to put together a database of scents, they began with possible violent protesters at the G8 summit who were made to hold metal rods from which their scents were collected.

The smell of Stasi fabrics was recreated this year by contemporary art curator Robert Blackson and his smell consultants, in an art exhibition called “If There Ever Was – a book of extinct and impossible smells”. Along with the Stasi smell, they created the smell of the sun (similar to brass polish), of Hiroshima (metallic and pungent) and the Mir Space Station (the smell of sweaty socks – vodka and body odour meant that Mir’s air filtration system became blocked with formaldehyde and stopped working)

NASA employs a team to smell every single piece of equipment which goes onto its space flights. George Aldrich and his team ensure that no items which could change the delicate balance of the climate of the International Space Station and the space shuttle.