Luke Jaaniste is a visual artist from Brisbane, Australia who between 2003 and 2007, completed a doctoral research project (PhD) at the Creative Industries Faculty, QUT, entitled Approaching the Ambient: creative practice and the ambient mode of being. The research involved the creation and presentation of a particular form of visual and sonic installations, accompanied by philosophical, historical and processual analysis. Of central concern was a highly immersive way of relating to our surroundings referred to as the ‘ambient mode of being’, which, as much as possible, dissolves distinctions between foreground and background leaving us to encounter an ambient ground all-around-us.
Even if the term doesn’t ring a bell, the ‘ambient mode of being in our surroundings’ as Jaaniste calls it, is something that we all innately understand. It’s when we shift from our internal dialogue of thought and distracted stimulation, to a state of tranquility brought on by a heightened awareness of the sounds and objects surrounding us.
Taken from the abstract:
“I call this the ambient mode of being-in-our-surroundings. It involves a way of engaging with our urban surroundings that eschews the typical logic of foreground and background that grounds our daily and aesthetic lives. Instead, the ambient mode is an altered state in which we attune to the all-around-everywhere materiality of the surroundings. This deals with down-to-earth stuff — how we exist in our surroundings and deal with its pervasive material excess.”
This is a recommended read for anybody who wants a more formalised and structured way to understand how we can consciously allow our surroundings to bring us into an ambient mode of being. A powerful ability to have.
As a taster, a screenshot of the essay’s contents page is below. And from Jaaniste’s website you can download the pdf as well as supplementary visual documentation.