An olfactory guide to Los Angeles

KCRW's Steve Chiotakis, left, takes a big whiff of East LA from a scent strip held by artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter.
KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis, left, takes a big whiff of East LA from a scent strip held by artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter.

What does your neighborhood smell like?

It’s not a question we ask ourselves often, and yet it’s something we notice every day. Is it the smell of sea air, freshly-cut grass, car exhaust, bacon-wrapped hot dogs, urine, or something else?

Los Angeles artist Brian Goeltzenleuchter posted a survey online and received dozens of responses. He used that information to create 11 scents that correspond to different neighborhoods, from East LA to Harbor City.

This Saturday from 11-6, visitors to the Santa Monica Museum of Art are invited to share their zip code, and wear their neighborhood’s scent.

Throughout the day, a collective fragrance of museum-goers will fill the space, creating a unique aroma.

The result is a collective scent-scape of the greater Los Angeles area.

The event will be held against the vibrant backdrop of the exhibition Robert Swain: The Form of Color.

Goeltzenleuchter spoke with KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis about the idea behind the project, and what these smells say about the people who live in LA.