Scent & Sahtein

Celia Shaheen

an afternoon of speculative, expanded book cataloguing (i.e. book-smelling) with Celia Shaheen. Participants built library records with the usual sundries---titles, authors, publication info---while emphasizing the documentation of book scents, as well as local and traditional practices, memories, and places that associated with these scents.

Using the history of Arab culinary traditions, which place an emphasis on food’s relationships with color, perfume, community, and the medicinal, as a starting point, participants created new book records with a focus on observing and documenting color (including pattern and ornamentation) and scent. The workshop covered an overview of Arabic culinary history, a discussion about the purpose of “expanded” cataloguing,  all while sharing a meal of Lebanese sweets, pastries, and Arabic coffee together.