Nov 9, 2022, 6PM–8PM

What’s in a Smell?: The Art and Science of Human Perception

Sissel Tolaas, RE:_______, installation view, 2022. Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. Photo by: Constance Mensh.

The human sense of smell is a vital yet often overlooked tool for navigating and understanding the world around us. Penn Professors Anjan Chatterjee, Jay Gottfried, and Ani Liu will each present on their multidisciplinary investigations of the senses and the future implications of smell research. Moderated by Zoë Ryan, Daniel W. Dietrich, II Director, Institute of Contemporary Art, this panel discussion is inspired by themes in Sissel Tolaas: RE_________, the largest survey presentation of work by smell artist and researcher, Sissel Tolaas.



Captioning will be available for this program via Zoom.

Note: masks are required for all registrants attending in person programs. Please contact Brittany Clottey at with any questions. 


Ani Liu is an internationally exhibiting research-based artist working at the intersection of art & science and is currently Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work has been exhibited internationally including at the Venice Biennale, Milan Triennale, MIT Museum, and Shenzhen Design Society. She is the winner of numerous awards including the Princeton Arts Fellowship, the Biological Art & Design Award, and Triangle Arts Residency. Liu has a B.A. from Dartmouth College, a Masters of Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and a Master of Science from MIT Media Lab.

Anjan Chatterjee is the founding Director of the Penn Center for Neuroaesthetics and a Professor of Neurology, Psychology, and Architecture. His research focuses on spatial cognition and its relationship to language. Chatterjee is the author of The Aesthetic Brain: How We Evolved to Desire Beauty and Enjoy Art and co-edited Neuroethics in Practice: Mind, Medicine, and Society and The Roots of Cognitive Neuroscience: Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychology. He has received the Norman Geschwind Prize in Behavioral and Cognitive Neurology and the Rudolph Arnheim Prize for contribution to Psychology and the Arts. Chatterjee obtained his BA in philosophy from Haverford College and his MD from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jay Gottfried is the Arthur H. Rubenstein Professor of Neurology and Psychology and a Penn Integrates Knowledge (PIK) University Professor. His research focuses on the neurobiology of the human sense of smell as an ideal model system for studying information processing within limbic circuits and networks affiliated with emotion, perception, learning, and memory. Dr. Gottfried obtained MD and PhD degrees from New York University, and subsequently completed a neurology residency at the University of Pennsylvania. In 2001 he received a Physician-Postdoctoral Fellowship Grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, giving him an opportunity to work with Prof. Ray Dolan at University College London, where he launched his work on the neural organization of human olfaction.


Programming at ICA is made possible in part by the Emily and Jerry Spiegel Fund to Support Contemporary Culture and Visual Arts and the Lise Spiegel Wilks and Jeffrey Wilks Family Foundation. Public and Student Engagement at ICA is supported by the Bernstein Public Engagement Fund, Suzanne Weiss Doft & Jacob W. Doft, Hilarie L. & Mitchell Morgan, and by Dana McDonald Strong & Mark W. Strong.