Breathing In: Air and Atmospheres | Upcoming Sessions

Monday, 20 May, 2024 - 17:00

Dear Breathing In participants 

Thank you for your wide-ranging and engaged participation in our Series so far. Please find below the next four upcoming sessions with dates and title, for diarizing:

April 8: Helene Strauss, Photosynthetic Justice

April 22: Ruth Sacks: Queen India’s Air: Saturation, Conditioning and Power

May 6: Euclides Goncalves: Revisiting the Dead Archive through Air and Atmospheres

May 20: Awadhendra Sharan: (Re)Configuring Atmospheres: Design, Technology and the Quest for ‘Pure Air’ in Colonial India

The series is convened by Isabel Hofmeyr and Sarah Nuttall (WiSER) and Megan Vaughan (IAS).

Recent work on infrastructures, atmospheres and the biospheric shifts associated with conditions of the Anthropocene have relied on rendering newly vivid those aspects of the social which have long been treated as background. Sensory ecologies - affective or experienced space which compose environments, in Matthew Gandy’s terms, are synesthetic: like sounds, they reverberate within human and more-than-human subjects. Affective atmospheres are shared bodily situations, drawing also on renewed and shifting elemental understandings of air and refracted light. How can we come conceptually closer to the toxicities of both air pollution and rising authoritarianisms, to material and metaphoric atmospheres – and other less-than-visible carriers of damage? And to a better sense of the entanglements and relationalities that such modes of thought can produce? The growing non-transparency of air, in Sumana Roy’s terms, produces paranoid reading: suspicious, anticipatory theories of negative affect. This occurs in the context of the ‘disappearance of air’ in favour of mask filters, air purifiers and the AQI (Air Quality Index) for those who can afford it. Yet there may also be a reparative range to these questions: making air explicative might offer analytic opportunities for sustenance and responsiveness to what is to come.  

 The Series runs fortnightly on Mondays @ 4-5pm JHB time /3pm London time.  It will build on ongoing and emergent academic attention to air and atmospheres and draw out suggestions for future research and for ways of acting upon the contemporary air and atmospheric crisis, with a leading focus on global South contexts. Register here

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