Resonances of Audience Space: Ambience as the Interface

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


In this chapter, Pieter Verstraete works through the concept of “ambience” (or the “ambient”) to reconsider it as a mechanism for establishing social space, performativity and the audience’s spatial experience within an installation. His thesis is that ambience can work as a mediator in the audience’s engagement with space. Through ambience, an installation can create a temporary contact zone for unexpected experiences of participation where people communicate with the environment and with each other. In order to cast further light on the audience’s spatial behaviours, engagement and awareness of presence in space, Verstraete borrows Rupert Sheldrake’s notion of morphic resonance from biology inspired by quantum physics. In the final part, Verstraete discusses ambience in relation to the experience of the body as an extension of Schechner’s environmental staging. By way of conclusion, both Schechner and Sheldrake are evaluated in terms of how they help to rethink ambience as an interface in the context of installation art.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeyond Aesthetics
EditorsChristopher Balme, Meike Wagner
Place of PublicationTrier
PublisherWVT Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-3-88476-693-4
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMainz University Studies in English
PublisherMainz University


  • performance studies
  • cognition
  • philosophy of space
  • installation art
  • theatre studies
  • Richard Schechner
  • Rupert Sheldrake
  • body-mind relations
  • ambience
  • sound studies

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