Title Atmospheric Things
Subtitle On the Allure of Elemental Envelopment
Author Derek P. McCormack
ISBN 9780822371236
List price GBP 20.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 304
Book size 152 x 228 mm
Publishing year 2018
Original publisher Duke University Press (Combined Academic Publishers)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
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“Atmospheric Things is a profound, rigorous inquiry into the blurry boundaries between feeling and knowing, subject and object, ground and air. We learn from this work that the shape of perception is a shifting, drifting, and permeable thing that is always becoming and moving us beyond what we know toward the alluring possibilities of experience. A beautiful and unique work.”

—Caren Kaplan, author of Aerial Aftermaths: Wartime from Above

“I loved reading Derek P. McCormack’s affirming and gorgeous book. It is as much about the atmospherics of the balloon as it is a companion to life, death, grief, and politics, as well as violence, technologies, and belief. Executed through a mix of detailed archival work, encounters and memories from McCormack’s life, and studies of contemporary art, Atmospheric Things is a wonderful book.”

—Peter Adey, author of Levitation: The Science, Myth, and Magic of Suspension

“Derek P. McCormack offers a unique perspective on the relationship between object and atmosphere ... This title brings a fresh lens to topics as diverse as sensory perceptions, the concept of allure, and understandings of volume. . . . Recommended. Graduate students and researchers.”

—C. Leachman, Choice


In Atmospheric Things Derek P. McCormack explores how atmospheres are imagined, understood, and experienced through experiments with a deceptively simple object: the balloon. Since the invention of balloon flight in the late eighteenth century, balloons have drawn crowds at fairs and expositions, inspired the visions of artists and writers, and driven technological development from meteorology to military surveillance. By foregrounding the distinctive properties of the balloon, McCormack reveals its remarkable capacity to disclose the affective and meteorological dimensions of atmospheres. Drawing together different senses of the object, the elements, and experience, McCormack uses the balloon to show how practices and technologies of envelopment allow atmospheres to be generated, made meaningful, and modified. He traces the alluring entanglement of envelopment in artistic, political, and technological projects, from the 2009 Pixar movie Up and Andy Warhol’s 1966 installation Silver Clouds to the use of propaganda balloons during the Cold War and Google’s experiments with delivering internet access with stratospheric balloons. In so doing, McCormack offers new ways to conceive of, sense, and value the atmospheres in which life is immersed.




Chapter 1. Envelopment

Chapter 2. Sensing

Chapter 3. Allure

Chapter 4. Release

Chapter 5. Volume

Chapter 6. Sounding

Chapter 7. Tensions

Chapter 8. Hail

Chapter 9. Elements




About the Author:

Derek P. McCormack is Professor of Cultural Geography at Oxford University, author of Refrains for Moving Bodies: Experience and Experiment in Affective Spaces, also published by Duke University Press, and coauthor of Key Concepts in Urban Geography.

Target Audience:

People interested in relationship between object and atmosphere.

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