Anthropology Seminar Series Speaker invited by Knowing From the Inside Project to talk about his project related research:-
Dr George Home-Cook
Anthropology Research Seminar
Thursday, 29nd October
Something in the Air: The Aesthetics of Atmosphere
(Sponsored by Knowing from the Inside)
The philosopher Gernot Böhme has proposed that ‘Atmosphere designates both the fundamental concept of a new aesthetics and its central object of cognition’. Furthermore, Böhme posits that the theatre presents the readiest paradigm for an aesthetics of atmosphere: ‘it can be said that atmospheres are involved wherever something is being staged, wherever design is a factor - and that now means: almost everywhere’. Surprisingly, however, the question of atmosphere has received relatively little attention in scholarly studies of theatre per se. Indeed, the impact of examining the phenomenology and theatricality of atmospheres (and their affects/effects) has yet to be fully realised.
Scenographic design – together with the aura of things, persons and places – undoubtedly plays a vital role in generating (theatrical) ‘atmosphere’ but what are atmospheres, how are they created, and what role does the designed environment – and those who dwell within it – play in their manifestation? Atmospheres exist (and our experienced) everywhere; yet, what makes them curious is their distinctiveness. What can we learn about ‘atmospheres’ by examining the particular mood or ambiance that exists within any given school, library, office, hospital, waiting room, departure lounge or theatre? These are some of the lines of enquiry that this seminar seeks to explore.
Weaving together selected works from philosophy (Böhme, Griffero), anthropology (Ingold) and theatre studies (Home-Cook), and paying particular attention to the manifold ways in which atmospheres are staged (and continually re-shaped), this seminar aims to arrive at a more nuanced, phenomenologically-informed, inside understanding of this pervasive yet inherently puzzling phenomenon.
George Home-Cook is an actor, theatre director and performance scholar and holds a PhD in Drama from Queen Mary, University of London. His book Theatre and Aural Attention: Stretching Ourselves, based on his doctoral dissertation, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015. The book elucidates what it means to listen, what it means to attend theatre by means of listening and, hence, to explore the phenomenal nature of theatrical attention. George’s other research interests include: the phenomenon of ‘atmosphere’ in theatre; the performativity of place; and theories/practices of acting.
This project is a research theme related to the KFI project.
Room F61, Edward Wright Building