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The Aesthetics of Atmospheres. Edited by Jean-Paul Thibaud. London: Routledge. The Aesthetics of Atmospheres partly mends that gap, and hence I sincerely welcome the book. It offers theoretical depth to the ongoing discussions on atmospheres and aesthetics.
Rather, it is a phenomenologically anchored argument about aesthetics, atmospheres, and much more. The common understanding is that we see light hitting dust particles, for instance, but not light itself. We see points of light. He notes that light is a precondition for seeing at all, whereas darkness is a precondition for seeing something. Yet to prove his point, he investigates what it means to see light in the chapter Seeing Light.
In my opinion, he offers a fruitful way of understanding the relationship between light, space, surface and vision by promoting the notion of lightness as different from light, in the same way as dark and darkness are distinct. Lightness, in this sense, highlights space, not as surfaces illuminated by beams of light, but as a quality of the space that surrounds us.
While that in itself is an interesting argument, he is also careful not simply to distinguish darkness and lightness, but to emphasize that brightness is a degree of lightness, and thus makes the reader aware of how glow, brightness, colour, luminance etc.
Unfortunately, the following chapter, Phenomenology of light , does not carry on this emphasis on lightness, but simply promotes brightness as the basic experience of light. The collection takes the reader from rigid philosophical discussions on Kant and Aristotle, the logical argumentation of the inadequacy of a scientific definition of light, to normative statements that simple geometrical forms bore us p. In my view, it will be a book where individual chapters will be picked out by scholars or used for teaching, such as The atmosphere of a city or Seeing Light , which I particularly enjoyed.
But it is not a book that one reads from cover to cover. Most chapters are to the point, presented in clear and comprehensible language, even for non-philosophers, but they are also quite brief and jump forward quickly in terms of argument. It is not a criticism of the content of the collection, as such. I am simply pointing out that the effort it takes to read the different chapters varies quite considerably.
Furthermore, and this is perhaps inevitable when compiling a collection such as this, there is quite a lot of repetition of examples, disrupting the pleasure of reading it in full.
Particularly towards the end of the book, the articles have very large sections that one has already read in the previous chapters.
And this is a shame for a book that will otherwise no doubt stand to nuance the existing discussion in the Anglophone world of atmospheres and aesthetics. The insights, critiques and new ideas and terminology it offers will no doubt inspire our thinking in the future. Revue internationale en architecture, urbanisme et environnement dans une approche interdisciplinaire. Ambiances Environnement sensible, architecture et espace urbain.
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The Meaning Of A Sound Place. G. Bohme, The Aesthetics Of The Atmosphere
Electronic Music Focus. The theme of space is a cornerstone in the philosophical investigation. It appeals to the world experienced by the subjects in terms of perceptual knowledge, the aim then is never the metrological and scientific analysis of change, but the attempt at clarification of the common sensitive comprehension of those data which the outside world offers to those who meet it. This having been said, space has never ceased to be a current topic, in the two basic forms in which philosophy has investigated it, in the first place the Cartesian spatium understood as the interval between one another and the Aristotelian topos or place. In the latest aesthetic debate, which is developing in Germany as well as in Italy, the topic emerged once again strongly seeking a new path of investigation which could depart from the previous two. The development of research, both theoretical and scientific, from the twentieth century until recent years , underlines more and more the subject through relational and contextual parameters in relation to the environment.
The Aesthetics of Atmospheres. Edited by Jean-Paul Thibaud. London: Routledge. The Aesthetics of Atmospheres partly mends that gap, and hence I sincerely welcome the book. It offers theoretical depth to the ongoing discussions on atmospheres and aesthetics. Rather, it is a phenomenologically anchored argument about aesthetics, atmospheres, and much more.
The Aesthetics of Atmospheres
Interest in sensory atmospheres and architectural and urban ambiances has been growing for over 30 years. The phenomenological analysis of atmospheres has proved very fruitful and its most important, and successful, application has been within aesthetics. The material background of this success may be seen in the ubiquitous aestheticization of our lifeworld, or from another perspective, of the staging of everything, every event and performance. The theory of atmospheres becoming an aesthetic theory thus reveals the theatrical, not to say manipulative, character of politics, commerce, of the event-society. But, taken as a positive theory of certain phenomena, it offers new perspectives on architecture, design, and art. It made the spatial and the experience of space and places a central subject and hence rehabilitated the ephemeral in the arts. Taking its numerous impacts in many fields together, it initiated a new humanism: the individual as a living person and his or her perspective are taken seriously, and this fosters the ongoing democratization of culture, in particular the possibility for everybody to participate in art and its works.