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“The Aesthetics of Atmospheres”, by Gernot Böhme, edited by Jean-Paul Thibaud
par International Ambiances Network on 

Publication of ”The Aesthetics of Atmospheres“ by Gernot Böhme, edited by Jean-Paul Thibaud

Routledge, 218 pages, £90  | Published under the aegis of the International Ambiances Network, as part of the new collection Ambiances, Atmospheres and Sensory Experiences of Spaces, directed by Rainer Kazig, Damien Masson and Paul Simpson.


About the Book

Interest in sensory atmospheres and architectural and urban ambiances has been growing for over 30 years. A key figure in this field is acclaimed German philosopher Gernot Böhme whose influential conception of what atmospheres are and how they function has been only partially available to the English-speaking public. This translation of key essays along with an original introduction charts the development of Gernot Böhme's philosophy of atmospheres and how it can be applied in various contexts such as scenography, commodity aesthetics, advertising, architecture, design, and art.


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.


About the Author/Editor


  • Gernot Böhme (Author) was Professor of Philosophy at TU Darmstadt, Germany between 1977 and 2002 and has been director of the Institute for Practical Philosophy in Darmstadt since 2005. His research interests include the philosophy of science, theory of time, aesthetics, ethics, and philosophical anthropology.


  • Jean-Paul Thibaud (Editor), sociologist, is CNRS Senior Researcher at CRESSON/UMR Ambiances Architectures Urbanités. His field of research covers the theory of urban ambiances, ordinary perception, and sensory ethnography of public places. In 2008 he founded the International Ambiances Network.


Table of Contents



Part I. Theory: Aesthetics and aesthetical economy

1. Atmosphere as a fundamental concept of a new aesthetics

2. Atmosphere as an aesthetic concept

3. The art of the stage set as a paradigm for an aesthetics of atmospheres

4. Kant’s aesthetics: a new perspective

5. On beauty

6. On synaesthesiae

7. Contribution to the critique of the aesthetic economy

Part II. Aesthetics of nature and art

8. Aesthetic knowledge of nature

9. Nature in the age of its technical reproducibility

10. Body, nature and art

11. Nature as a subject

Part III. Architecture

12. The atmosphere of a CITY

13. Atmosphere as the subject matter of architecture

14. Staged materiality

15. Architecture: a visual art? On the relationship between modern architecture and photography

16. Metaphors in architecture–a metaphor?

Part IV. Light and sound

17. Acoustic atmospheres

18. Music and architecture

19. The great concert of the world

20. Seeing light

21. The phenomenology of light

See the book on the Routledge website

ISBN 978-1-138-68850-6

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CFP - Invisible Places 2017
par International Ambiances Network on 

Invisible Places 2017 - Sound, Urbanism and Sense of Place

7, 8 & 9 April 2017, Sao Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal

The aim of this conference is to bring together scholars, artists and theoreticians on soundscape art and ecology and encourage them to present new perspectives that will further interdisciplinary research and practice. We still know little about the complex relationships between landscapes and soundscapes or the significance of acoustic ecology for all living organisms including ourselves. Focused study and intentional stewardship of our sound heritage for the holistic evaluation of landscapes is fundamental to the evolution of all species, and will have a great impact on the survival of many. This will be a central topic to be discussed.

Call for Papers

We are looking for works that reflect (but are not limited to) the following topics:
  • Sound, place and identity
  • Soundscape ecology
  • Sonic urban identity
  • Natural vs. man-made soundscapes
  • Sonic perception
  • Human geography
  • Planning, design and architecture in rural and urban contexts
  • Human dimension of soundscapes
  • Theories of communication
  • The study of soundscapes as a social and political intervention
  • Cultural landscape
  • Acoustic communities
  • Aesthetics of the soundscape
  • Sustainability
  • Bioacoustics and psychoacoustics
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Recording, archiving and interpretation of sound environments
  • Sound art and ecology

Please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words; selection will be made by double-blind peer review.

Call for Artistic Residencies

The international symposium Invisible Places is pleased to announce a call to artists from around the world who work with sound and field recordings for this unique residency program.
Between 3-5 artists will be selected to live and work in the island of São Miguel for up to 4 weeks prior to the symposium. During the residency, artists will have the opportunity to develop their artistic project in conjunction with the acoustic environment that the island offers. The projects may be presented in the form of performances, concerts or sound installations. Applicants must demonstrate an environmental approach and focus their work on the island as a rich system of endemic and ecological information.
The residency offers accommodation for up to one month. Candidates will have to provide their own travel costs and food expenses.
The selection process may require videoconference meetings with candidates to discuss and define the details of their proposals. The projects will need to give Invisible Places authorization to document the working processes by audio and video for documentary purposes, assuming that it might be used later under Creative Commons licenses.

Call for Workshops & Soundwalks

Candidates who wish to experiment with new research methodologies and approaches to soundscapes, and would like to perform in the form of workshops and soundwalks open to the local community will be selected to participate as part of Invisible Places’s programming. Proposals that focus on the importance of listening to the preservation of memory and cultural heritage will be favored.

Important Dates

November 30, 2016: Submission deadline for abstracts, artistic residencies, and workshops

December 15, 2016: Notifications

January 15, 2017: Registration opens

February 15, 2017: Delivery of full papers

Please consult our website for more info about how to submit.

Any further questions, write us: soundingcities@gmail.com

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CFP - Feeling in Music and Sound: Atmosphere, Stimmung, Mood
par International Ambiances Network on 

Call for papers for a themed session at the biennial conference of the Music and Philosophy Research Group at King’s College London, 13-14 July 2017.

MPSG 2017 Themed Session: Feeling in Music and Sound: Atmosphere, Stimmung, Mood

Convener: Friedlind Riedel (Bauhaus University Weimar)
Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Friedlind Riedel by 15 October 2016

Whether sung or sampled, private or alien, composed, amplified, passed down, recorded or imagined, music and sound are operative forces for shaping feelings. It seems that wherever music resounds, feelings or moods are likely to unfold as perhaps vague, but nonetheless intrusive and pervasive atmospheres. A recurrent radio-tune, a symphony, a jarring sound, a call for prayer, a soundtrack, a marching band or the hoot of an owl may all evoke, embody, radiate, alter, narrate, intensify, subvert or diffuse a situational atmosphere or Stimmung. In turn, the phenomenal spheres of music and sound have been key to the various philosophical genealogies of Stimmung, mood, or atmosphere theories. In this vein, German phenomenologist Hermann Schmitz (1978, 2014) invokes music as evidence for his redefinition of feelings as atmospheres; Gernot Böhme (1995) mobilises the musical instrument as a prime example of his New Aesthetics of atmosphere; and Timothy Morton (2007) turns to timbre and tone to elaborate what he terms “ambient poetics”.

Despite these fertile intersections of music and atmosphere, music scholarship has often referred to phenomena of atmosphere or collective mood only in passing. This contrasts with contemporary sound studies, in which notions of atmosphere along with ambience and affect have gained currency to investigate music and sound as phenomena of space and place. This panel thus invites papers that advance and challenge existing concepts of atmosphere, Stimmung or mood through music and sound. We welcome in particular contributions that go beyond a notion of atmosphere, Stimmung or mood as spatial intensity, and that widen the focus to include performance, process, duration, dynamism, tension, timbre, resonance, or rhythm. Furthermore, this panel seeks to foster dialogue between the burgeoning anglophone scholarship on atmosphere as grounded in affect theory and germanophone notions of atmosphere that bear on New Phenomenology. Topics of interest might include, but are not limited to:

  • Music and collective feelings
  • Musical movement and feelings of being moved
  • Stimmung, mood, atmosphere – conceptual continuities and differences
  • Methodological implications of music as atmosphere, mood or Stimmung
  • Modalities of listening in atmospheres
  • Atmosphere and the musical furnishing of (religious) rituals
  • Schmitz’ Atmosphere and Heidegger’s Stimmung
  • Vagueness of atmosphere and the notion of the musical ineffable
  • Music as affective force
  • Diffuse meaningfulness versus musical meaning
  • Timbre and tone
  • Atmosphere theories as New-/Post-Phenomenology
  • Music and/as environment
  • Music, imagination, and felt presence
  • Ontologies of music in relation to atmosphere
  • Moods and modes
  • Convener: Friedlind Riedel (Bauhaus University Weimar)

Indicative Bibliography

The below brief bibliography comprises a selection of works that may be of particular relevance to those with an interest in this topic, or to those seeking to orient themselves therein, but is intended to be neither exhaustive nor prescriptive; there is no obligation to cite any particular work or works, either in abstract submissions or in final papers.

Bille, Mikkel, Peter Bjerregaard, and Tim F. Sørensen. 2015. “Staging Atmospheres: Materiality, Culture, and the Texture of the In-Between.” Emotion, Space and Society 15:31–38.

Böhme, Gernot. 1993. “Atmosphere as the Fundamental Concept of a New Aesthetics.” Thesis Eleven 36 (1): 113–26.

Griffero, Tonino. 2014. Atmospheres: Aesthetics of Emotional Spaces. Farnham: Ashgate.

Gumbrecht, Hans U. 2012. Atmosphere, Mood, Stimmung: On a Hidden Potential of Literature. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Jankelevich, Vladimir. 2003. Music and the Ineffable. Transl. by Carolyn Abbate. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (Orig. Publication La Musique et l’Ineffable, 1961).

McGraw, Andrew. 2016. “Atmosphere as a Concept for Ethnomusicology: Comparing the Gamelatron and Gamelan.” Ethnomusicology 60 (1).

Riedel, Friedlind. 2015. “Music as Atmosphere.” Lebenswelt 6: 80–111.

Schmitz, Hermann. 2014. Atmosphären. Freiburg: Aber.

Vadén, Tere, and Juha Torvinen. 2014. “Musical Meaning in Between: Ineffability, Atmosphere and Asubjectivity in Musical Experience.” j aesthet phenomenol 1 (2): 209–30.

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Des jardins urbains au XXIème siècle : espace, ambiance, société, environnement
par International Ambiances Network on 

Séminaire scientifique - Des jardins urbains au XXIème siècle : espace, ambiance, société, environnement

23 mai 2016 - Faculté d’Architecture d’Urbanisme de Lisbonne (FAUL) - Portugal

Les jardins potagers sont un moyen de conservation des sols vivants et aussi un complément de survie des familles les plus pauvres qui habitent la ville. C'est une activité qui a un rôle social fondamental et illustre les vagues d'exode rural du XXème siècle. Elle recréa le lien entre les habitants et le territoire en installant de nouvelles habitudes de voisinage et en restituant le plaisir et l'art de travailler la terre. Les potagers urbains apportent aussi une biodiversité au sein des villes et sont confrontés à la pollution, à des expositions multiples en même temps qu’ils façonnent des ambiances, des espaces et de paysages particuliers.

La ville de Lisbonne intègre dans son aire depuis sa fondation une proportion importante de terres cultivées sous forme de jardins qui apparaissent aujourd’hui  de façon désorganisée en occupant spontanément les sols productifs de vallon situés au bord de la route et du métro, autour des opérations de grands-ensembles, dans les interstices urbains. Cette situation exprime l'actuel manque de planification urbaine de la ville.

Cette dualité entre le rural et l'urbain qui persiste permet de formuler une nouvelle pensée pour la ville. La pensée d'un paysage global, dans lequel l'espace agricole et l'espace urbain restent interconnectés sans perdre leurs caractéristiques propres et leurs fonctionnements indépendants ; tout en servant les intérêts de la société, que ce soit vis-à-vis du monde agricole ou de la vie urbaine.

Les trois aspects suivants seront développés en comparant à la situation française (Grenoble, Ile de France) et mettre en discussion des critères opératoires pour le futur :
  • Ville et organisation spatiale des jardins : espaces, publics, qualités d’ambiances, qualités spatiales, relations aux infrastructures, paysage et architecture
  • Politique de la ville et pratiques sociales : aspects sociaux et spatiaux, impacts économiques, pratiques des jardiniers et des habitants
  • Effets environnementaux : eau, terre, air, cultures (types agricoles et biodiversité, pollutions et histoire des sols)

Organisation :
  • Pedro Pacheco (Lisboa)
  • Gregoire Chelkoff et Magali Paris (Grenoble)

Institutions :
  • FAUL

Langues du séminaire : français et anglais

  • Gregoire Chelkoff (ENS Architecture Grenoble-Laboratoire CRESSON)
  • Magali Paris (ENS  Architecture Grenoble-Laboratoire CRESSON)
  • Pedro Pacheco (FAUL / pedro pacheco arquitectos)
  • Rita Folgosa (CML)
  • Duarte Mata (CML)  
  • João Gomes da Silva (GLOBAL)
  • Manuela Raposo Magalhães (ISA)
  • Teresa Leitão (LNEC)
  • José Aguiar (FAUL) abertura do seminário (coordenador do 2º ciclo da FAUL)

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Appel à communications - Dessine-moi une ambiance !
par International Ambiances Network on 

Rencontres Annuelles d’Ethnographie de l’EHESS 3ème édition, fin novembre 2016
Appel à communications Atelier 10 : Dessine-moi une ambiance !

Les propositions de communication d’environ 500 mots devront être adressées avant le 22 mai 2016.

Envoi des propositions :
  • Claire Clouet, doctorante EHESS, Centre Georg Simmel : claireclouet@free.fr
  • Maxime Le Calvé, doctorant EHESS, Centre Georg Simmel (EHESS) et à l’Institut für Theaterwissenschaft (FU Berlin) : maxime.lecalve@gmail.com

Les ambiances émanent des situations, des objets, des personnes et des interactions. Au-delà d’une confrontation entre production et réception des ambiances, qui renvoie à la dichotomie classique entre objectivité et subjectivité, de nouvelles approches écologiques, phénoménologiques et pragmatistes invitent à considérer l’ambiance comme un terme indépendant de l’objet et du sujet, qui viendrait remettre en cause leur opposition (Böhme 1993; Thibaud 2015; Ingold 2011). Comment appréhender les qualités propres aux phénomènes dans nos enquêtes ? Comment les "faire passer" dans nos descriptions ethnographiques, avec quels outils ? Comment prendre appui sur le savoir pratique des acteurs pour dégager ce que les conditions d’émergence des ambiances ont de précis et d’exact ?

Nous attendons des contributions ethnographiques qu'elles fassent avancer notre exploration collective sur deux axes principaux que sont : l'enquête, tout d'abord, sur la manière dont présences et ambiances permettent aux personnes de faire ce qu'elles font dans des domaines variés de la vie (ou au contraire les entravent) ; l'écriture, ensuite, avec une réflexion sur les façons dont les qualités de présences et d'ambiances sont à restituer dans les textes que nous produisons en tant qu'enquêteurs.

L'atelier est ouvert à toutes les disciplines de l'ethnographie, à tous les domaines régionaux et à toutes les thématiques. Les candidats sont incités à s’inspirer (non exclusivement) des travaux d’Albert Piette sur la phénoménographie (1996; 1999; 2009), de ceux de Jean-Paul Thibaud sur les ambiances sonores (2002; 2015), ceux de Tim Ingold sur l’atmosphère comme relation entre substance et médium (2011), ainsi bien sûr de toutes les enquêtes qui les auront enthousiasmés au point de vue de la place accordée aux atmosphères... pour ne citer que quelques exemples, comme celle de Alice Goffman (2014) sur le quotidien des jeunes afro-américains, celle de Carine Plancke (2014) sur la danse chez les Punu du Congo- Brazzaville, ou encore celle de Sophie Houdart (2015) sur le LHC.

Cet atelier se place dans la continuité du séminaire "Présences et atmosphères : enquêter avec les passeurs d'ambiances" (Centre Georg Simmel, EHESS).

Bibliographie indicative :
  • Böhme, Gernot. 1993. « Atmosphere as the Fundamental Concept of a New Aesthetics ». Thesis Eleven 36 (1): 113‐26. doi:10.1177/072551369303600107.
  • Goffman, Alice. 2014. On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City. Chicago London: University Of Chicago Press.
  • Houdart, Sophie. 2015. Les incommensurables. Bruxelles: Zones Sensibles Editions.
  • Ingold, Tim. 2011. Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description. London; New York: Routledge.
  • Piette, Albert. 1996. Ethnographie de l’action : L’observation des détails. Paris: Métailié.
  • Piette Albert. 1999. La religion de près. Paris: Métailié.
  • Piette, Albert. 2009. L’acte d’exister : une phénoménographie de la présence. Marchienne-au-Pont: Socrate Editions PROMAREX.
  •  Plancke, Carine. 2014. Flux, rencontres et émergences affectives: pratiques chantées et dansées chez les Punu du Congo-Brazzaville. Les Anthropologiques. Toulouse: Editions du Mirail.
  • Thibaud, Jean-Paul. 2002. « L’horizon des ambiances urbaines ». Communications 73 (1): 185‐201.
  • Thibaud Jean-Paul. 2015. En quête d’ambiances : éprouver la ville en passant. Genève: Métis Presses.

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