It Can Smell Loneliness – Isolation is killing me



Name: Pia Palo

Nationality: Swedish

Institution / Company: Umeå School of Architecture


Name: Elsa Brynje

Nationality: Sweden

Institution / Company: Umeå School of Architecture


– FINALIST of 2020 Monument Competition


Loneliness is a public health problem, and it affects us regardless of age, religion, sexuality or ethnicity. It can be voluntary or involuntary, objective or subjective.


Loneliness is considered shameful, a feeling hard to admit to oneself as well as to others, spite the fact that it is something that we all feel. Moving through public spaces we pass people that we perceive as happy, groups that we believe feel that sense of belonging that we miss and the light streaming from the windows of others seem to mock us with their warmth.


The monument highlights the loneliness that we feel, both literally and figuratively speaking. Spotlights installed surrounding a public space, with sensors that instantly notice lonely people, puts the problem in the limelight. It Can Smell Loneliness is erected by the Public Health Authority and helps them to track the mental health of the population.


By highlighting loneliness, the monument leaves a constant reminder of the fact that lonely people still exist, even in our highly connected, modern world. Lonely hearts are a contemporary as well as a future problem, and they need to be seen. Big brother watches you, but with good intentions.


#political use of public space #monitoring #shame #loneliness #support of mentally ill

You may also like

We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

Cookie Name Duration Purpose
woocommerce_cart_hash session Helps WooCommerce determine when cart contents/data changes.
woocommerce_items_in_cart session Helps WooCommerce determine when cart contents/data changes.
wp_woocommerce_session_ 2 days Contains a unique code for each customer so that it knows where to find the cart data in the database for each customer.
  • woocommerce_cart_hash
  • woocommerce_items_in_cart
  • wp_woocommerce_session_

Decline all Services
Accept all Services