CultureofCreation
23 September 2015

Atmospheric Competence / Griffero-Proietti / 7

7 / What are your insights about different functionality of objects-spaces such as sensorial, intellectual, emotional and their relation with the production of atmospheres?

Prof. Tonino Griffero: Given that emotion and cognition are indissociable aspects of world of experience, rather than distinct categories, we can say that atmospheres as emotional spaces and felt-bodily feelings have a central role in aiding decision-making and belief-formation. They provide a kind of pre-deliberative, evaluative backdrop, and even the apparent absence of atmophericness is itself an emotional situation! Hence the great responsibility of the designers (in the broadest sense) is in shaping the manner in which everyday things appear to us and in structuring our reasoning as a consequence, our general orientation in the world and belonging to it. Atmospheric feelings are both feelings of the felt-body and ways of finding oneself in a world, so that the normal concept of functionality is here still too reductive if not misleading at all. From this point of view an object can be functional if it effectively generates these or those feelings, this or that atmosphere.

But in this sense we are then all designers. We all manipulate the environment, the better to serve our needs. We select what items to own, which to have around us. We build, buy, arrange, and restructure: all this is a form of design. So, by giving life to ubiquitous atmospheres, i.e. to feelings that are not wholly internal to the subject, the design structures all experience and conceptualization. But each planning, as already noted, is threatened by the heterogenesis of ends and a good designer should therefore take into account the risks due to the fact that many atmospheres arise from unintentional circumstances. Finally, living atmospheres is therefore a matter of learning to stay in them in the right way. And this applies both to the designer and to the beholder. 

In fact, the beholder too should be educated to the atmospheric perception, because only an adequate atmospheric competence could at least in part immunise us from the media-emotional manipulation which the aesthetisation of politics and social life in the late-capitalistic “scenic” economy (Gernot Böhme) results in.



Tonino Griffero is professor of Aesthetics at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy, and director of the Master 'Comunicazione estetica e museale' at Scuola IAD, Univ. di Tor Vergata-Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome. He is also Director of 'Sensibilia. Colloquium on Perception and Experience','Lebenswelt. Aesthetics and Philosophy of Experience'and 'Atmospheric Spaces. Aura, Stimmung, Ambiance'. Besides he is member of the Guaranty Committee of SIE / Società Italiana d’Estetica, Scientific Committee of 'Estetica. Studi e ricerche', 'Atelier delle immagini. Semiotica del visivo', 'Ambiances. International Journal of sensory environment, architecture and urban space'.

Tiziana Proietti (1983, Rome, Italy) is an architect and researcher in architectural design and theory of contemporary architecture. She gained her PhD at the Sapienza University in Rome in 2013 and worked as Visiting PhD researcher at the University of Technology TU Delft. Since 2007 she has worked as Teaching Assistant in architectural design and theory, Associate Editor for specialized magazines, and curator of art events. Since 2013 she has been working as researcher at Satyendra Pakhalé Associates where she cultivates her interest in the historical and theoretical roots of sensorial design.

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