(En)gendering ambiances of the city

Tess Osborne

Keywords: ambiance, ambient power, gender, psychogeography, emotion

This paper discusses the construction and manipulation of ambiances in Birmingham, UK, from a gendered perspective. By applying Situationist, visual, and mobile methods, the role of the gendered human sensorium is considered in relation to everyday embodied engagement with the urban fabric. The sexed and sensing body is pushed and pulled by the various (engineered) ambiances of the city. Working towards an understanding of women’s right to the city, it is shown how the sexed body is highly influenced, controlled, and hindered by the urban fabric through commercialisation, sensory splendor, affective resonances, and, crucially, ambiant and sensory power.