Sound and weather, and the intermingled senses
This article explores our intermingled experiences of fog as imperatives to consider the fluid connections and crossovers between sound and weather. It takes from cultural and literary references and a first-person writing practice, drawing on anthropology and geography to address a lack of literature in sound studies and acoustic ecology, also considering different sensory experiences of the world through John M. Hull’s writing on rain, snow and sound. Fog has an immediate effect on our senses and experiences of the external world, and its distortions affect sound. However, neither the Sound Studies Reader nor The Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies contains indexed entries for fog or weather. Other sound studies texts discussing weather concern themselves with that which produces sound directly. But as anthropologists, geographers and field recordists have shown, weather is a deeply intermingled sensory experience. Fog presses its presence upon us in a visual, aural and tactile sense. We can see the water vapour, feel it on clothes and skin. In fog, sonic information takes priority over visual, and damp mist makes alien a familiar place or a known landscape. ‘Night is empty or hollow; fog is full’, writes Serres (2008), and in this fullness the senses are profoundly altered. This article explores the effect of fog on our sonic experiences of the world, asking how fog affects what we hear, its effects on our perception of the environment, and how these findings point to further possible interrogations of the interrelations of sound, the senses and weather.
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