Atmosphere and Ambient Space

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Atmosphere and Ambient Space

This paper explores the relation between atmosphere and ambient space. Atmosphere and ambient space share many salient properties. They are both ontologically indeterminate, constantly varying and formally diffuse and they are both experienced as a subtle, non-signifying property of a given space. But from a certain point of view, the two concepts also designate quite dissimilar experiences of space. To be ’ambient’ means to surround. Accordingly, ambient space is that space, which surrounds something or somebody. (Gibson 1987: 65) Since space is essentially of a surrounding character, all space can thus be described as having a fundamentally ambient character.

So what precisely is an ambient space, then? As I will argue in my presentation, ambient space is a sensory effect of spatiality when a space is experienced as being particularly surrounding: a ‘space effect’ or ‘surround effect’. To make an ambient space is to produce a sensation of being surrounded by highlighting the very spatial properties of a given space. Ambient space is space as a surrounding ubiquity, space as ‘world’.

Despite often being used almost synonymously, the concepts of ambient space and atmosphere thus have quite different connotations. As I will argue, this not only includes the difference between place and non-place and between space as dwelling and transitory space. It also concerns, on a more general level, differences between particular and generalized space; between spatial involvement and detachment; between allocentric and idiocentric space; and between space as social and sensory experience.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date16 Mar 2012
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

Cite this

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title = "Atmosphere and Ambient Space",
abstract = "Atmosphere and Ambient SpaceThis paper explores the relation between atmosphere and ambient space. Atmosphere and ambient space share many salient properties. They are both ontologically indeterminate, constantly varying and formally diffuse and they are both experienced as a subtle, non-signifying property of a given space. But from a certain point of view, the two concepts also designate quite dissimilar experiences of space. To be ’ambient’ means to surround. Accordingly, ambient space is that space, which surrounds something or somebody. (Gibson 1987: 65) Since space is essentially of a surrounding character, all space can thus be described as having a fundamentally ambient character.So what precisely is an ambient space, then? As I will argue in my presentation, ambient space is a sensory effect of spatiality when a space is experienced as being particularly surrounding: a ‘space effect’ or ‘surround effect’. To make an ambient space is to produce a sensation of being surrounded by highlighting the very spatial properties of a given space. Ambient space is space as a surrounding ubiquity, space as ‘world’.Despite often being used almost synonymously, the concepts of ambient space and atmosphere thus have quite different connotations. As I will argue, this not only includes the difference between place and non-place and between space as dwelling and transitory space. It also concerns, on a more general level, differences between particular and generalized space; between spatial involvement and detachment; between allocentric and idiocentric space; and between space as social and sensory experience.",
author = "Ulrik Schmidt",
year = "2012",
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Atmosphere and Ambient Space. / Schmidt, Ulrik.

2012.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

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