1st Edition

The Aesthetics of Atmospheres

By Gernot Böhme, Jean-Paul Thibaud Copyright 2017
    232 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    230 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    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.



    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


    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.