5. Machines of Atmospheres

Keywords: Perception of air (imaging technologies, sensing devices, and information systems), production of air (plants, emissions etc.), governance of air, airborne transmissions, machine-atmosphere entanglement

This sub-theme examines the role of machines and technology in the production and perception of material and affective atmospheres.

Air surrounds and permeates our bodies, buildings, and cities; its flow is regulated by a patchwork of technologies and natural processes: wind, breath, windows, pumps, vents, pneumatics, air locks, etc. Across these spaces air carries particles, bacteria, heat, smells and information; on the wings of gases travel messages, memories, and miasmas. Air is essentially an aggregate and a carrier. The partitioning of air is therefore a constant matter of concern, its governance at once impossible and paramount.

Atmospheric phenomena, its qualities and compositions, are to a large extent made perceptually available through scientific instruments, imaging technologies and information systems. Scientific assessments have been crucial in demonstrating the that pollution and CO2 emissions are causes of climate change. To an increasing degree machines and technology now structure our perception and understanding of atmospheres.

This sub-theme solicits epistemic, technological, and artistic approaches that critically interrogate machines of air and atmospheres. Its aim is to investigate and reflect upon how air is measured, mediated, produced, manipulated, resourced, partitioned, experienced, and governed. From observations of the earth through satellites to production of sensory and aesthetic atmospheres through artistic and scientific instruments, this sub-theme will consider how atmospheres – pockets of air that are saturated with matter and meaning – operate as spaces of inclusion and exclusion of ways of being and knowing, of people and of life.

We invite proposals for papers, workshops, panels, fictions and fabulations, interventions, and potential other formats that are plausible within the limits of the conference structure and location. Possible questions to be addressed include:

  • How do data layers produced through techniques of remote sensing for monitoring and management alter the perception of Earth and its atmosphere?
  • How do imaging technologies, sensing devices, and information systems of air and the atmosphere structure and impact our apprehension of the terrestrial and space environment?
  • How is the technological expansion of satellites, spatial imagery, surveillance, and unmanned machines rooted in the contingencies of geopolitics – including postcolonial legacies and opacities?
  • How are natural atmospheric systems used and imagined as information systems, as infrastructure for transmission and as storage of data?
  • Which connections, symbioses and alliances exist and are constructed between plants, fungi, air and machines of atmospheres?
  • The atmosphere/atmospheres as space of machine wilderness
  • Distribution of airspaces – including politics of respiration and of ventilation
  • Aspects on airborne transmissions and communication: particles, microorganisms, VOCs, pheromones, radiation, radio, wifi, etc.

The sub-theme is hosted by Hanna Husberg, Dehlia Hannah, and Laura Beloff 

Submit a proposal of a maximum 500 words.

Submit abstract to EasyChair here