Originally published in Italian in 2010, this book is the first to address the theory of atmospheres in a thorough and systematic way. It examines the role of atmospheres in daily life, and defines their main characteristics. Outlining the typical phenomenological situations in which we experience atmospheres, it assesses their impact on contemporary aesthetics. It puts forward a philosophical approach which systematises a constellation of affects and climates, finds patterns in the emotional tones of different spaces (affordances) and assesses their impact on the felt body. It also critically discusses the spatial turn invoked by several of the social sciences, and argues that there is a need for a non-psychologistic rethinking of the philosophy of emotions. It provides a history of the term 'atmosphere' and of the concepts anticipating its meaning (genius loci, aura, Stimmung, numinous, emotional design and ambiance), and examines the main ontological characteristics of atmospheres and their principal phenomenological characteristics. It concludes by showing how atmospheres affect our emotions, our bodies' reactions, our state of mind and, as a result, our behaviour and judgments. Griffero assesses how atmospheres are more effective than we have been rationally willing to admit, and to what extent traditional aesthetics, unilaterally oriented towards art, has underestimated this truth.
Tonino Griffero is an Italian philosopher and Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Rome, Tor Vergata, Italy.
'It was Tonino Griffero who first made the theory of atmospheres known to the Italian audience. We now appreciate even more his publishing the book in English, which not only describes the phenomenology and theory of atmospheres, but sets this within its historical and international context.' Gernot BÃ¶hme, Professor of Philosophy emeritus, Technical University of Darmstadt and Director of the Institute for Practical Philosophy in Darmstadt, Germany 'After the pioneering studies by several German philosophers, the notion of atmosphere is currently awaking widening interest around the world. Tonino Griffero presents here a learned, humane and dense survey of the ontology, history and phenomenology of atmospheric perception. Our amazing capacity to grasp complex and integrated sensory and emotive entities could well be named our sixth sense. As Griffero argues, atmospheric perception is a holistic and emotional being-in-the-world.' Juhani Pallasmaa, architect and Professor of Architecture emeritus, Finland