Deleuze and Guattari’s (1987) concept of the Body without Organs has a useful resonance with the approach to performance within the affective atmosphere. The Body without Organs represents precisely the kind of (non-human) becoming removed from subjectivity constituted by language, reason, and culture (the self-interested passion of the cogito, to paraphrase Deleuze and Guattari [130]). 


It is a question of making a body without organs upon which intensities pass, self and other – not in the name of a higher level of generality or a broader extension, but by virtue of singularities that can no longer be said to be personal, and intensities that can no longer be said to be extensive. The field of immanence is not internal to the self, but neither does it come from an external self or a nonself. Rather, it is like the absolute Outside that knows no Selves because interior and exterior are equally a part of the immanence in which they have fused. (156) 


This field of immanence in which the outside and inside fuse, and the personal dissipates, is a very good description of affective atmosphere. While the theories of atmosphere outlined above align with my understanding of affective atmosphere as the shifting ‘resonance of the felt space’ in the contingent ‘primitive present’, the Body without Organs fundamentally reflects the experience of participation as a performer in affective atmosphere. 

The Philosophical Context of Affective Atmosphere 

Established theories of atmosphere are very useful in framing the concept of affective atmosphere, especially to the extent that they relate to Deleuzian affect and a sense of becoming (as opposed to being). The concept of atmosphere reflects a pre-rational, undifferentiated in-between, in the here and now, the merging of or the blurring of lines between perception, space, and event into a becoming that is aesthetically experienced (and shared) during production, and captured in the moving image. For Böhme (2017), 


perception is basically the manner in which one is bodily present for something or someone or one’s bodily state in an environment. The primary ‘object’ of perception is atmospheres. What is first and immediately perceived is neither sensations nor shapes or objects or their constellations, as gestalt psychology thought, but atmospheres, against whose background the analytic regard distinguishes such things as objects, forms, colors, etc. (23) 


For Anderson (2009), ‘the atmosphere has long been associated with the uncertain, disordered, shifting and contingent – that which never quite achieves the stability of form’ (78). Atmospheres reflect an expressed world rather than a represented world (79); they ‘“radiate” from an individual to another’ in a ‘dyadic space of resonance’ (80). For Griffero (2016), atmosphere is an excess resisting representational attitude; it is a resonance of the felt space – a vibration in which ‘the perceived and the perceiver meet and even merge isomorphically and predualistically’ (6). For Schmitz, Müllan, and Slaby (2011), atmosphere reflects a life in the ‘primitive present’, fusing the ‘here’, ‘now’, ‘being’, and ‘I’ in space, which is a ‘predimensional, surfaceless realm manifest to each of us in undistorted corporeal experience’ (245). Furthermore, for them, ‘emotions are atmospheres poured out spatially. An atmosphere […] is the complete occupation of a surfaceless space in the region of experienced presence’ (255).