The aestheticization of hybrid space: The atmosphere of the Locarno Film Festival

Frederica De Molli, Jeanne Mengis, A.H. van Marrewijk

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The aestheticization of organizational space is a growing phenomenon with organizations carefully designing the aesthetic engagement in space to invoke specific values and behavior. Simultaneously, however, the traditional workspace is disappearing as work is performed increasingly in multiply-located, hybrid spaces combining corporate, domestic and public spaces. This paper seeks to understand the aestheticization of hybrid spaces by theoretically drawing on the notion of atmosphere as proposed by the philosopher Gernot Boehme. By ethnographically exploring how an urban film festival creates its unique atmosphere, we identify three intertwined aesthetic practices that underpin the aestheticization of hybrid space: the interrelation of different aesthetic codes and expressions, the processual guidance of the aesthetic experience, and the provision of a centre of experience. We discuss how ambiguities, multiplicities and diversities may become a resource when aestheticizing hybrid space, reminding us to be critical even when atmospheres emerge beyond the careful aesthetic design of space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1491-1512
Number of pages22
JournalOrganization Studies
Issue number11
Early online date5 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


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