In past decades, the subject of atmosphere has gone beyond the physio-meteorological scope and become a new concept of aesthetics. As the primary sensuous reality constructed by both the perceiving subject and the perceived object, atmosphere is neither a purely subjective state nor an objective thing, but essentially is a quasi-object pervaded by a specific emotional quality and a ubiquitous phenomenon forming the foundation of our life experience. In this respect, a decisive factor is not what we perceive but how we perceive. Furthermore, the quasi-objective quality of atmospheric phenomena makes it possible that atmosphere is producible. A practical dimension is thereby, from the outset, included in the consideration of this concept.

The aesthetic research into atmosphere initially resulted from the consideration of meteorological phenomena. Olafur Eliasson's “The Weather Project” is exemplary for its artistic practice in this field. With the combination of high-tech and natural elements, the focus of this installation work is not on the weather process itself but on creating a specific atmospheric space to develop viewers' immersive perception of their surroundings. The museum itself is hence transformed into a site providing an immediate, multi-sensory experience. Meanwhile, based on the criticism of the conventional museum institution that mediates or even manipulates art perception, revealing the construction behind the construction is an integral part of the atmospheric design of the Weather Project. This is characterized, on the one hand, by deliberately exposing staging strategies and, on the other hand, by creating unusual settings to enable viewers to reexamine their perceptions in addition to the surroundings shaping them.

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Aesthetics Commons



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