On Atmospherics: Staging Stormzy and nonbinary thinking

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Taking the UK Grime artist Stormzy’s performance at Glastonbury 2019 as a case study, this article investigates the tactics, technologies and processes revealed through the act of staging atmospheres. Process-based philosophies of experience, such as pluriversal design and worlding, are adopted to examine the ontologically ‘nonbinary’ perspectives that an atmosphere-led stage aesthetics invite. Methodologically, Stormzy’s headlining act produced by TAXBOX and collaborators is analyzed through the geographer Derek McCormack’s approach to speculative devices (such as balloons or stage sets) as ‘doing atmospheric things’. This includes an analysis of stage atmospheres as indeterminate ‘worlding envelopes’ and the role of atmospherics in enacting, projecting, or affirming possible worlds for Black British culture. McCormack’s proposal of atmospheric envelopment is extended into the study of theatre and performance by positioning ‘scenographics’ as a type of atmospherics. Put simply, this article offers an initial argument for considering the tactical affects of scenographics within the production of atmospherics. The article concludes with a challenge to category-based (binary) stage ontologies and argues the benefits of atmospherics as a process-based (nonbinary) approach to stage aesthetics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalAmbiances: International Journal of Sensory Environment, Architecture and Urban Space
Publication statusPublished - 22 Dec 2021


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