Awareness for Atmospheres


  • Desiree Foerster University of Chicago



In this essay I reflect on the meaning of atmospheres while the human world has been overwhelmed by a respiratory disease. In an auto-ethnographic gesture I reflect different ways of sensing and becoming sensitive to the atmospheric changes in my home during self-isolation. This self-questioning is directly related to the conceptualisation of air in view of its potential risk of carrying infectious virus particles. The air we breathe is currently stylised as a cloud on the micro level of aerosols, which gives reason to think anew about the status of the atmospheric with regard to our being in the world. Through combining philosophical reflection with aesthetic practice, I explore how an attunement towards the ways air flows through our habitats can open a new perspective on processes of subjectivation in a time of ongoing crisis. I argue that becoming sensitive towards air flow not only heightens our sensitivity for the affectivity of atmospheric processes but also for the different registers of our experience able to capture these effects.