More-than-human affinitive listening

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It is a definition of elemental air as more than human, wholly ungraspable, and even monstrous, which enlivens Adey’s method of ‘affinitive listening’ to the elemental. The difference between air, as it has been lately addressed, and the element of air is that the latter precedes and exceeds the specific alchemical compositions of air masses, and is not reducible to the descriptions and metaphors with which we attempt to ‘grasp’ air and atmosphere. This commentary experiments with the concept of elemental air and, in particular, the method of affinitive listening, with the help of an atmospheric thing. I propose the Montgolfier infrared balloon as a device that sounds and senses air, generating materials and space times that render explicit, and also ungraspable, the atmospheric envelope around Earth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-79
Number of pages4
JournalDialogues in Human Geography
Issue number1
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Mar 2015


  • affinity
  • air
  • atmosphere
  • more-than-human

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