15 June 2013

Article: Kathleen Stewart, "Atmospheric Attunements"

The beautifully evocative (and, indeed, atmospheric) writing offered by Kathleen Stewart's in her article "Atmospheric Attunements", like some half-remembered dream, stays with a reader well beyond the closing of the piece. Stewart describes her article as "a writing and thinking experiment aligned with forms of nonrepresentational theory" and, true to her word, this brief article floats above the academic rigors of heavy theory and citation. Instead, in six snippets of situational reflections, the author submerges into divergent, descriptive topologies which attend to a random, quite personal selection of spaces and times (fictional, anecdotal, poetic, quotidian) becoming intimate and lived.
"I am asking how questions of form, event, viscerality, and circulation open and problematize attention to the ways that forces take form as worlds or dissipate (or get stuck, fester, shelter something ...). How do rhythms and labors of living become encrusted and generative? How do we now describe the activity of sensual world-making, and what kind of theory is being built in this way?"
Buzzing, West Virginia, migraines, homelessness and much more: these fragments of description and rumination bubble to the surface of the text and conglomerate. Carried along by such cases, Stewart probes the possibilities for harnessing practices of writing and critique towards attuning to a proliferation of inhabited worlds in the making, all incommensurable yet equally laden with material and sensory rhythms and atmospherics.

Stewart's open-access article can be found nestled in the extensive online archive of Environment and Planning D, in volume 29(3) of 2011.

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