Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam, NL
"Dampcloot" refers to a 17th-century Dutch word coined by the Flemish mathematician and engineer Simon Stevin (1548-1620) to translate the Latin "vaporum sphaera", a term with which Galileo referred to a "vaporous realm". The word "dampcloot" was only used briefly and was eventually replaced by the current term "atmosphere", after being called by other authors "eercloot" and "dampkring", among many other names. Stevin, however, had a preference for the way in which different short words and particles, specifically in Dutch, could be brought together to form new words for describing concepts still not fully part of the scientific canon. For Stevin, the most important thing about "dampcloot" was its phonetic and potentially visual effect and not so much its clarity or scientific precision. He principally intended to stimulate imagination, triggering encounters between imagery and meaning-making.

Thinking about the name of the atmosphere invokes a continuous slippage of meaning across languages and narratives, and brings up the idea of fluidity. The atmosphere “surrounds us and penetrates us. More than an absolute container, it is the stirring of everything” as Italian philosopher Emanuele Coccia says.

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