Swallow has devoted its third issue to our beloved Mexico City, as reported by The New York Times’s Maria Newman in a short introductory blog post.
What is remarkable about this issue, though, apart from the stunning and jaw-dropping photography, is a strange new feature that, in our view, exponentiates the scope of basic written storytelling:
“A scratch-and-sniff feature that brings you the smells of the sprawling metropolis”.
Delicious, or maybe not, depending on your sensibility towards all things chilango. Yet, we kind of wonder if this trend-setting feature will eventually embody the future of travel writing/reporting for print publications; a disruptive device
hard impossible to find in digital publications.
Here is the rationale behind that editorial decision:
This time, said James Casey, the magazine’s editor, they decided to include the ambitious olfactory project, put together by Sissel Tolaas, a fragrance expert and artist. Mr. Casey had reached out to Ms. Tolaas after he heard of a project she had done that reproduced the smells from 200 Mexico City neighborhoods.
This issue of Swallow includes 20 scratch-and-sniff stickers throughout that are imbued with the aromas of one of the city’s many colonias, or neighborhoods. (Reproducing the smells in the magazine was a complex undertaking for their printers in Singapore, and is partly the reason it took more than a year to publish.) Not all of the odors are pleasant.
FJP: We can only hope that our fellow Chilanga-in-Portland is not the only one left awestruck:
Images: Assorted local snacks, candies, and pastries. Partial screenshots of Swallow Magazine’s piece on Mexico City’s supermarkets.