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Translating Ambiance Through Queer Ecologies: A Speculative Cartographic Imaginary, 2020

Issue 06:

Translating Ambiance

Guest editor: Jordan Lacey

The ambiances of contemporary ecologies involve a multiplicity of scales and perspectives. To explore, imagine and translate these durations and gestures requires attentive approaches that express embodied ecological attunements.


This paper brings the enquires of queer ecology together with the practice of translating ambiance to explore how the nondual qualities that constitute an ambiance can generate a shifting frame of ecological awareness—where divisions such as urban-nature, human and non-human, self-environment are undone and rearranged. As well as individual works featured in the Translating Ambiance (2019) exhibition, I discuss my own work, Sonic Entanglements: Bodies of the Valley (2018), as part of the exploration of the porousness of boundaries, which are evoked through ambient encounters. Here the translation of ambiance is imagined as a speculative re-worlding for multispecies inclusion, which foregrounds the perceptual differences of human and non-human bodies and their corresponding ambiances.


Translating ambiance excites a collective thinking motivated by the affective possibilities of difference, with the aim of promoting sensitivity toward radical practices of perspectivism and kinship. In this paper I ask, what is the potential for ambiance to translate multispecies cartographies and draw geographically specific engagements with the varied timbres that co-constitute a place? 

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