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Accepted Paper:

Measuring temperature as an act of atmospheric attunement and care: a study case from a park in Fukuoka, Japan.  
Margherita Tess

Paper short abstract:

In the context of Japanese summer heatwaves, I explore the case of an informal attempt to track atmospheric temperature in a park affected by tree felling. I argue that measuring temperature becomes a bodily sensorial way to attune to heat’s elusiveness and a daily practice of atmospheric care.

Paper long abstract:

In the last decade, despite existing guidelines addressing heat adaptation through enhancing greenery in Fukuoka, several trees have been felled, and urban temperatures have reached new records. In this context, septuagenarian Shiho decided to measure the outdoor temperature for 62 hot summer days in ten spots where trees were cut down in Fukuoka’s Ohori Park, annotating remarks about plants and animals’ conditions.

In this paper, I will focus on the encounter with Shiho, whom I met during my 8-months fieldwork in Fukuoka, to show how measuring temperature becomes a way to attune to the elusiveness of heat and is ultimately an act of care mediated by the atmospheric.

Drawing on discussions in anthropology on care in the Anthropocene (Puig, 2012; Van Dooren 2017; Choy, 2018), I argue that the action of going out in the scorching heat and measuring temperature in an imperfect and DIY way is not a mere translation or stabilisation of heat’s elusiveness but is a technique to notice, elicit, and bodily attune to the atmospheric. Moreover, through daily exposure and habituation to heat, Shiho unravelled more-than-human relations - disentangled because of anthropogenic atmospheric extremes - and created a daily practice of atmospheric care. Focusing on Puig’s remark that care entails practical labour, I will bring forward how Shiho’s acts of care implied sensorial labour to fall into step with thermoregulating her body, calibrating measuring devices, and attuning to more-than-human altered habits in order to attend to the park she has been living near whole her life.

Panel P015
Towards Atmospheric Care: Undoing Environmental Violence, Experimenting With Ecologies Of Support [Colleex Network]
  Session 2