More-than-human Nights : Intersecting lived experience and diurnal rhythms in the nocturnal city

Griffiths, Rupert and Dunn, Nick (2020) More-than-human Nights : Intersecting lived experience and diurnal rhythms in the nocturnal city. In: ICNS Proceedings :. ISCTE, Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, PRT, pp. 203-220. ISBN 9789728048

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The contemporary nocturnal city is characterised by the interplay of luminosity and darkness, a chiaroscuro tableau inhabited by a myriad of flora and fauna—including, of course, humans. What patterns, rhythms, and indeed disturbances can be detected in this patchwork i.e. how do humans, non-humans, and wider natural cycles and rhythms co-produce the nocturnal urban environment? How is this coexistence of light and darkness inhabited by these multiple species? In short, how is the night moved through, and how does it move through us and our non-human companions? This paper is sited at the intersection of two perspectives on the urban night—first, lived experience and the affective dimension of the nocturnal city; and second, the wider rhythms of the city and the sky above that inscribe themselves into us and our companions. It asks how we, as researchers, can be attentive to the urban night so as to bring these two perspectives together. To do this, we will discuss two methods that the authors have used to inhabit and describe the urban night—one a perambulatory autoethnography of urban edgelands described through text and photography, the other an ethnography of urban temporality using photographic and sonic field recording techniques. Together, the authors’ different approaches pay close attention to both the human and non-human dimensions of the environment. We examine the diversity of nocturnal atmospheres, ambiances, and soundscapes to better understand their meanings and uses. Furthermore, we do this in a way that is attentive to the various spatial and temporal scales of darkness and light—from the palpable immediacy of lived experience or the daily tides of rush hour traffic to the changing phases of the moon or the activities of migrating birds or foraging beetles. By bringing these methods together, our aim is to contribute to a toolkit for situated fieldwork that can be used to create a rich description of the nocturnal urban environment—particularly one that includes but does not privilege the human. Furthermore, the work aims to make such descriptions legible and accessible within and beyond academia.

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16 Nov 2020 12:05
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15 Jan 2024 00:27