RAHEL AIMA & AHMAD MAKIA /// The Politics of the Olfactive Body


This conversation with Rahel Aima and Ahmad Makia is the first of two (the second one is with Dena Qaddumi) recorded live in the event organized by Columbia University Studio-X in Amman, directed by Funambulist friend Nora Akawi. The first audio file above is the presentation of Archipelago in general and of the Levant series in particular as it originally preceded the conversation with Rahel and Ahmad. We begin the latter with the introduction of their online/printed platform, The State, and its subtle articulation between the politics of space and the politics of body. This discussion mostly focuses on the third issue of The State, entitled The Social Olfactory, as well as its peripheral articles online. We question both the undervalue of smell when it comes to body politics, as well as the monopoly of our imaginary linked to smell by Western references. The second part of the conversation focuses on the militarization/surveillance of smell, as well as its potential forms of subversion.

Rahel Aima is a writer based in Dubai, editor-­in-­chief of THE STATE, and an editor at The New Inquiry. Her research interests include internet aesthetics, nonwestern futurisms, and the #gcccccc. Ahmad Makia is a writer based in Dubai, currently researching ‘The Pan-Arab Hangover’ and living in Dubai. He is editor-in-chief of THE STATE.


– http://thestate.ae/


– Rahel Aima & Ahmad Makia, “Editors’ Note,” in Rahel Aima & Ahmad Makia (eds), The Social Olfactory, The State: Vol. 3 (Fall 2012). – Francisco Salas Pérez, “Impeccable Tenderness,” in Rahel Aima & Ahmad Makia (eds), The Social Olfactory, The State: Vol. 3 (Fall 2012). – Adam Flynn, “Under the Iron Snout: A First Take on Olfactory Imperialism,” in Rahel Aima & Ahmad Makia (eds), The Social Olfactory, The State: Vol. 3 (Fall 2012). – Rahel Aima, “Surveillance and the Sentient City,” on thestate.ae (May 24, 2012) – Rahel Aima, “What Should Robots Smell Like?,” on thestate.ae (August 4, 2012)


– Rahel Aima & Ahmad Makia (eds), Voicings / Articulations / Utterances, The State, Vol. 1 (Spring 2012) – Rahel Aima & Ahmad Makia (eds), Speculative Geographies, The State, Vol. 2 (Summer 2012) – Rahel Aima & Ahmad Makia (eds), The Social Olfactory, The State: Vol. 3 (Fall 2012) – Rahel Aima & Ahmad Makia (eds), Dubai, The State: Vol. 4 (2013) – Rahel Aima & Ahmad Makia (eds), Syntax Freezone, The State: Vol. 4 (2015)


– Film excerpt played during the conversation: Interview of Nikolas Patsopoulos for The New York Commune Project (2013)

– Invitation and photographs of the event (Studio X Amman Lab):

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– Excerpts from The Social Olfactory, The State, Vol. 3 (Fall 2012):

The State Social Olfactory 1 The State Social Olfactory 2 The State Social Olfactory 3 The State Social Olfactory 4