Ten people at a time are being blindfolded and led on an olfactory adventure through the Central Market by artist Anika Gardner.
The Smell the Market tour is part of the 2016 SALA Festival. You’ll meet at the giant nose that Gardner cast in bronze and installed at the Grote Street entrance.
This conk is inspired by one of the market’s most venerable personalities. Stephan Oulianoff and his late wife Maria started supplying Stall 72 (then called Frickers Food Conspiracy) with organic produce back in 1972. He’s owned Central Organic since 1982, maintaining for decades an incredible work ethic and cheeky, grumbling personality.
Gardner herself is a longstanding employee of the market’s Atlas Continental Café. She’ll teach visitors about the science of smell and how this sense helps us understand the world, ourselves, and even art.
“I hope people who go on the tour get to appreciate smell a bit more,” she says. “I also want them to find out that art isn’t always a painting or something hanging on the wall. It can just be about experience.”
Down one aisle, you’ll be absorbed by the aroma of ground coffee. Down another, you’ll enter a ripe vegetable garden. Walk a few steps further and you’ll be assaulted by cheese.
“The cheese shops do have some amazing smells,” Gardner laughs. “One time they had this crazy blue vein that made people run into my store asking, ‘What on earth was that?’”
Gardner’s six years at Atlas have given her a great appreciation for market life that she now wants to pass on. “There’s so much inspiration around there. It’s an ecosystem for eccentrics.”
Gardner’s free Smell the Market tours run on Tuesday, August 2 at 9.30am–10am; Wednesday, August 10 at 2–2.30pm; Thursday, August 25 at 2–2.30pm and Friday, August 26 at 8–8.30pm. No booking necessary: to join in, meet at the Bronze Nose at the Grote Street tables.