The Life of Air

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[ Poetic Cosmos of the Breath ]  
[ Poetic Cosmos of the Breath ]  
► Ruud Kaulingfreks , René Ten Bos<br>Learning to fly: inspiration and togetherness<br>  
► Ruud Kaulingfreks , René Ten Bos<br>  
[ Learning to fly: inspiration and togetherness]
► M. J. Parkes  
► M. J. Parkes  

Revision as of 13:30, 9 September 2011


The Life of Air: Dwelling, Communicating, Manipulating

edited by Monika Bakke

►Monika Bakke

The Multispecies Use of Air

‘It’s alive!’ we could certainly exclaim if confronted with a microscopic view of air. As aerobiologists observe, ‘[h]undreds of thousands of individual microbial cells can exist in a cubic metre of air, representing perhaps hundreds of unique taxa’ (Womack et al., 2010: 3645). But what deserves special attention here is not only that air is full of life but also, apart from being a mean of transport and communication, air is a habitat in its own right. The zoe of air comes in abundance and we – breathing organisms – are all in this together for better and for worse, dead or alive. We have finally come to realize that air is messy, being neither an empty space nor a void, but a space where species meet. And like any other life form, as Donna Haraway emphasizes, we find ourselves ‘in a knot of species coshaping one another in layers of reciprocating complexity all the way down’ (2008: 42).

The natural history of airborne communities enters into the social history of air almost exclusively in moments of crisis such as pandemics. Airborne microbial life, however, is in constant interaction with human life not only in a pathogenic but also in a beneficial way – directly and indirectly – as it affects the atmospheric processes. (Womack et al., 2010: 3645) Anthropocentric perspectives, or rather the social history of air, limit our view of aerial life to human ‘bodies being made to be aerial (Adey, 2010: 25) in aviation to the accelerating saturation of air with the electromagnetic signals in the wireless communication (Dalal, 2009) or focus on the imaginary and artistic ways of dealing with air (Connor, 2010; Bakke, 2006). Unfortunately we tend to forget that as a species we are not the only air users and that air plays an active role in our embodied lives. In fact, we live submerged in a crowded and busy air full of life and full of molecular messages being exchanged by nonhumans. Air developed as the most ancient means of communication, long before the appearance of humans into the earth’s ecosystems, serving as a vast pool jammed with chemical signals which only recently started gaining scientific recognition. Messages expressing desires, warnings and survival instructions are constantly sent via air by plants and animals. Plants, therefore, cannot be considered passive air users, as they are capable of complex signaling, some of which travels into the air and through the air. (more)

Dwelling in Air

►Ann M. Womack, Brendan J. M. Bohannan, and Jessica L. Green

Biodiversity and biogeography of the atmosphere

►Anna A. Gorbushina, Renate Kort, Anette Schulte, David Lazarus, Bernhard Schnetger, Hans-Jürgen Brumsack, William J. Broughton, Jocelyne Favet

Life in Darwin's dust: intercontinental transport and survival of microbes in the nineteenth century

►Anders Hedenström

Extreme Endurance Migration: What Is the Limit to Non-Stop Flight?

►Elizabeth Thomas

Tomas Saraceno looks to the sky and sees possibilities

►Steven Connor

Taking to the air


Nonhuman Volatile Communication

►Frederick R. Adler

Plant signalling: the opportunities and dangers of chemical communication 

►Geraldine A. Wright, Florian P. Schiestl

The evolution of floral scent: the influence of olfactory learning by insect pollinators on the honest signalling of floral rewards 

►Michael R. Whitehead, Rod Peakall

Integrating floral scent, pollination ecology and population genetics 

►Corinna Thom, David C. Gilley, Judith Hooper, Harald E. Esch

The Scent of the Waggle Dance 

Anthropology of Scents

►Gordon M. Shepherd

The Human Sense of Smell: Are We Better Than We Think? 

►Charles J. Wysocki, George Preti

Facts, fallacies, fears, and frustrations with human pheromones

►Susana Camara Leret

Smellscapes: the loss of smell in a visual culture

►Usman Haque

Scents of space

Oswaldo Maciá, Jenny Marketou, Chrysanne Stathacos, Clara Ursitti

Odor limits


► Bogusław Buszewski, Martyna Kęsy, Tomasz Ligor, Anton Amann

Human exhaled air analytics: biomarkers of diseases

► Sabrina Raaf  

Breath I: pleasure
Breath Cultures

► Jarosław Kozakiewicz

Oxygen towers 

► Tomas Saraceno

Poetic Cosmos of the Breath 

► Ruud Kaulingfreks , René Ten Bos

Learning to fly: inspiration and togetherness

► M. J. Parkes

Breath-holding and its breakpoint

Airborne Anxieties

► Simon Luechinger

Valuing Air Quality Using the Life Satisfaction Approach Valuing Air Quality Using the Life Satisfaction Approach

► G. Liccardi, A. Custovic, M. Cazzola, M. Russo, M. D'Amato, G. D'Amato

Avoidance of allergens and air pollutants in respiratory allergy

► Lisa Fong Poh Ng

The Virus That Changed My World

►How Flu Viruses Attack

What You Should Know About Biological Warfare

How to Survive- Biological or Chemical Attack

► Critical Art Ensamble

Bodies of Fear in a World of Threat


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