Atmospheres and Authenticity. The Example of Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia (USA)

Christina Kerz

Keywords: ambiance, atmosphere, authenticity, heritage, situations, USA

Taking the designated ‘Revolutionary City’ of Colonial Williamsburg as a case study, this paper suggests a theory that brings together the concepts of atmosphere and authenticity. On a conceptual level, this paper draws upon the new phenomenology by Hermann Schmitz, on more-than-representational, and on praxeological notions of atmosphere. Authenticity is viewed in an experiential manner as dynamic and relational. The analysis shows that the process of atmospheric immersion takes place in five phases and that the immersion in situationally rooted and place-based atmospheres can lead to an atmospherically produced feeling of authenticity.