Take a Whiff of KC

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Nothing stinks! Or so says Berlin-based artist and smell researcher Sissel Tolaas whose new project opened in Kansas City Friday night.

And Tolaas is challenging people to smell the city

Nose first, feet on the ground, Tolaas' art project comes in the form of a challenge. Visitors are sent to scavenge six downtown Kansas City and KCK neighborhoods. In your quest you'll collect 20 scratch-and-sniff playing cards infused with location specific scents. Tolaas says you'll be surprised by the invisible city you find.

"The sense of smell is more important than any of the other senses. You smell before you see anything and we seem to have forgotten that function of the nose," said Tolaas.

Tolaas says society is dominated by the visual, yet it's smell that is our tool for communication, navigation and education.

"Every breath we take we also inhale a lot of information about the society, about the situation and about the world we live in," Tolaas said.

Considered one of the world's leading experts in smell, Tolaas collected the scents of downtown KC & KCK, bottled them up and created a game.

"As I went through different sections of the city I knew where I was because of the smells," she said.

Travel the city, pick up the playing cars and unlock the smells in its seams.

"I smelled oranges and candy and it smells like chemicals at the dentist office I went to once," said Xochitl Suh, a young girl experiencing the smells at Grand Art Gallery.

It's a way for people to explore their surroundings, experience new things, and be more conscious about the world we live in. .

"Pretend you are blind. How would you navigate, how would you find your way around. Just for a second," said Tolaas.

So what does Kansas City smell like?

Tolaas wants you to find out.

You can pick up a map of the scavenger hunt at the Grant Art Gallery downtown or download the free smellscape app on your smartphone. You get points for many things along the way and the winner gets a miniature statue of a nose made of gold.

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