Breathe –
Investigations into Our
Atmospherically Entangled
Publisher : Birkhäuser; 1st Edition (June 21, 2021)
Language : German and English
Softcover edition : 290 pages
Dimensions : 20.7 x 2.5 x 28.2 cm
BREATHE – Investigations into Our Atmospherically Entangled Future explores breathing and the planetary atmosphere as intensely lively leitmotifs for the design of an inclusive future in a new climate regime, uncovering intertwinements of societal activities with the air and the atmosphere. With this awareness of entanglement, the deeply performative characteristics of the air, atmosphere and climate are foregrounded and can be discovered as central agents in the conception and design of our planetary existence. This carefully edited collection brings together renowned authors from various disciplines, and their ideas, observations, and examples inspire us to rethink our forms of social action and design.
Foreword –
“There is no common world, and yet it has
to be composed, nonetheless.”
Bruno Latour
Klaus K. Loenhart
In the Meteorological Turn –
Explorations of Our Atmospherically
Entangled Future
The present publication explores how a planetary “becoming-intertwined” in the air and atmosphere might become a vibrant leitmotif for the conception of “other stories” of a more-than-human future. For our future aerial regime, we must discover a spherological approach to thought and action, based on entanglement in the atmospheric realm beyond the philosophies of modernity, which have quite simply forgotten the medium and the agencies of air.(1) Clearly, the construction of Western metaphysics rests on the c o n s i s t e n t   n e g l e c t of the breathing sphere. This non-thinking of air’s ephemeral sphere not only leads to an imaginary of distanced emptiness between bodies and things, but it also overlooks the materiality and affective agency of the i n t e r t w i n i n g   a l i v e n e s s of the planetary air space – with far-reaching consequences. 
The suggestion outlined here for imagining human life in its atmospheric entanglement attempts nothing less than an atmospheric re-worlding of our existence. Here, the reintroduction of the atmosphere into our societal strivings takes absolute priority.(2) For in the atmospheric, our being-in-the-world derestricts itself radically from its preferred territorial and ideological insular existence, and thus de facto proves to be a “being- in-the-breathable.”(3) Here, Michel Serres’ observation that our existence is located quite essentially in the atmosphere(4) gains relevance far beyond a purely discursive examination, enabling a new perspective on planetary life. Thus “Natures, Cultures, Subjects and Objects” do not exist prior to and independently of their atmospherically “entangled worlding.”(5) Instead, the air and the atmosphere become e x p l i c i t, revealing effective powers long concealed by other currents such as modernity.(6) These subjects are examined in the first group of essays in this volume – T h e  D i s a p p e a r a n c e  o f  t h e  O u t s i d e – B r e a t h i n g  I n t o  t h e  P l a n e t a r y. Approaching the atmosphere through breathing means immersing oneself in a reality that flows through humans as well as the air and the atmosphere of the planet. Our being-in-the-air shows that aliveness cannot be separated at any moment from this most intimate, yet at once planetary form of atmospheric interaction, and is by no means contextual, but rather c o n s t i t u t i v e of all life. To answer how we could overlook the entangled forces of the air and the atmosphere for so long, we must also engage closely with the dualism of modernity, both in its Romantic and its Enlightenment characteristics. Only then, the proclaimed “environmental” or “climate” crisis can be recognised as a crisis of externalising procedures. 
Through sustained climatic and pandemic turbulences, the effective agencies of the atmosphere have meanwhile worked their way into central societal debates. As they receive increasing attention at the societal level, the air and the atmosphere are provoking increasing unease about our inter wovenness with the atmospheric. Identifying the derestricting or “unifying” powers of the air and the atmosphere plays a major role in expanding “atmospheric consciousness.”(7) In the second section of this volume – A n  A t m o s p h e r i c  C o n s c i o u s n e s s  :  I m m e r s i n g  i n t o  A t m o s p h e r e s – our attention is shifted towards these active forces of atmosphere and climate within societal processes. In the atmospheric discovery of our actions’ planetary basis, we take part in an e l e m e n t a r y  t u r n in societal self-consciousness – the turn away from a situation “out there” towards a reality i n which we live. In this process, our planetary atmosphere becomes the model for “a global interior”(8) that can serve as a new imaginary for the conception of our planetary existence. 
In this great interior which, through the becoming-visible of modern civilisational practices, makes us recognise our atmosphere, we increasingly operate in the field of consciousness of an atmospheric “world interior”(9) in which the human and the more-than-human on this planet Earth can move closer to each other once more. To effectively articulate and convey constellations of aliveness and porous forms of atmospheric reciprocity in this world interior, we must modify our largely e a r t h b o u n d notions of the aerial sphere.(10) Moreover, we need to abandon a language that, as Peter Sloterdijk has observed, was developed for a world of heaviness and solid bodies and is not capable of expressing the experiences of a world of “lightness and relations.”(11) From this perspective, tracing and cultivating our oneness in the planetary meteorological i n v i r o n m e n t also means turning towards the production of languages and societal formations in the atmosphere and in breathing.
Therefore, it is worthwhile to discover this second m e t e o r o l o g i c a l  t u r n,(12) with its enormous and fundamental societal changes, also as a task of design. In c r e a t i v e l y  d r a w i n g  t o g e t h e r the manifold effective agencies of the air and the atmosphere, this publication proposes a profoundly performative aspect. In the third group of essays – E n t a n g l i n g  w i t h  t h e  W o r l d – O u r  B i o m e t e o r o l o g i c a l  D a s e i n – the authors make the case for a societal perspective that defines its progress not merely as a modernist separation of externalised “environments”(13) but, on the contrary, recognises evolutionary advance in the societal conception of systemic intertwinements in sympoietic processes and dense, living assemblages.
For meteorologists, epidemiologists, and microbiologists like Lynn Margulis, air is the essentially formative agency, that constitutes planetary dynamism and aliveness through all particles that live, interact and merge within it. It is with this atmospherically infused evolutionary reality in view that we must now formulate a desirable future. Counterintuitively to our anthropocentric biases, such a design process requires a careful making-kin with(14) – the exploration of the mystery that lies in the inter wovenness “of all in the same world.”(15) As soon as we reconnect the bare human being with its atmospheric life-preserving systems, our individual existence, our b e i n g - i n - t h e - b r e a t h a b l e, can be discovered as an enabling scope of creativity.(16) 
We can then conclude boldly, as Henk Oosterling does, that our “Dasein is design,”(17) in the sense that design has never been a separate activity from our existence. Design, therefore, seems predestined, even in times of changing climate and aerial regimes, to advance societal agency. Designers, activist groups, and institutions that are beginning to imagine the s o c i e t a l  d i m e n s i o n of atmospheric being are called upon to answer the question of w h a t  k i n d  o f  w o r l d we want to imagine and how we can articulate and negotiate its inherent intertwinements. In this, the vegetal can show us the way with the life-giving entanglement of the lithosphere and the atmosphere. By connecting life i n and a b o v e the earth, it spans vast areas of material and acting milieus. Thinking with and “through” plants in their in worldly and relating systemics can lead us to post-dualistic thought models for unknown co-operations and integrative agency. A b i o m e t e o r o l o g i c a l l y composed design and an atmosphere- related art unfold a design space for more-than-human constellations of collaboration. A  d e s i g n i n g  c o m p o s i t i o n – that is, the active recognition and formation of essential connectivity and emergence between life forms and things – thus becomes the central cultural technique for corresponding societal conceptions. Informed by meteorological phenomena, biometeorological design and biometeorologically informed art also rediscover and renegotiate compositional principles and the interaction of the actors involved. One point of departure for this is an actualising of Gernot Böhme’s initial call for a  n e w  a e s t h e t i c s  o f  t h e  a t m o s p h e r e.(18) To carry out the meteorological turn towards a making-kin-with the more-than-human, it is essential to further develop this aesthetics in the expanded field of climate science, design, art, and cultural theory. Only by tracing our oneness with our planet’s meteorological singularity can we cultivate this imaginary and lend it appropriate expression. By societally animating the agential aliveness of the atmospheric, we can speculate openly about how a new aesthetic and design practice of the atmosphere might even become a constitutive framework of societal and political involvement. Not least, the reconception and cultural emergence of our planetary co-breathing also entail the demand to rewrite the modern version of human history and earthbound natural history as an a t m o s t o r y – as a correlating planetary atmospheric narrative.

In this anthology, the explorations of atmostories and aerial imaginaries are photographically accompanied by impressions of augmented landscape performance. A series of images of the b r e a t h e ! Pavilion envelops the chapters and invites the reader to delve into the subtle potential of atmospheric encounters with plant life.
1    See Luce Irigaray, The Forgetting of Air in Martin Heidegger(London, 1999).
2    See Peter Sloterdijk, “How Big is the Atmosphere? Peter Sloterdijk in conversation with Klaus K. Loenhart,” this volume, pp. 185 – 195.
3    Peter Sloterdijk, Spheres III: Foams (Los Angeles, 2016), p. 165.
4    See James Flint, “Michel Serres’ Angels, A Modern Myth,” Mute 1 (1996).
5    See Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Durham, 2016).
6    See Bruno Latour, “Air,” this volume, pp. 93 – 97.
7    Sloterdijk, Spheres III, p. 151.
8    Peter Sloterdijk, What Happened in the Twentieth Century? Towards a Critique of Extremist Reason (Cambridge, 2018), p. 15.
9    Peter Sloterdijk, In the World Interior of Capital (Cambridge, 2014), p. 12.
10    See Cymene Howe, “Life Above Earth,” Cultural Anthropology 30 (2015): pp. 203 – 209.
11    Bettina Funcke, “Against Gravity: Bettina Funcke in conversation with Peter Sloterdijk,” Book Forum (2005): p. 29.
12    This second meteorological turn points to a social paradigm shift after the first meteorological turn with the Cambrian explosion of vascular plants. See Sloterdijk, What Happened in the Twentieth Century?
13    Katharina Hoppe, “Autopoietische Systeme und sympoietische Gefüge, Komplexe Dynamiken globaler und lokaler Entwicklungen,” Verhandlungen des 39. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie (Göttingen 2019), p. 5.
14    See Haraway, Staying with the Trouble.
15    Emanuele Coccia, The Life of Plants (Cambridge, 2018), p. 61.
16    See Sloterdijk, Spheres III, p. 165.
17    Henk Oosterling, “Dasein as Design, or: Must Design Save the World?,” Melintas 25 (2009): p. 1.
18    See Gernot Böhme, Atmosphäre als Grundbegriff einer neuen Ästhetik, in Atmosphäre. Essays zur neuen Ästhetik (Berlin, 2013), pp. 21 – 48.
Content & Authors –
I–The Disappearance of
the Outside -
Breathing Into the Planetary
Being in The Air
Living Within the Air: Towards an Ethics of Breathability
A Cultivation of Breathing
II–An Atmospheric
Consciousness -
Immersing into Atmospheres
The Opening of Climate
The Atmospherization of Everyday Experience
Atmospheres - New Conditions for Design
How Big is the Atmosphere?
III–Entangling with
the World -
Our Biometeorological Dasein
Plant Life: The Political Ecology of Working Together
Biometeorological Design - Architectures of the Planetary-Atmospheric Turn