Finding Meaning in Fog: The Liminal Experience Represented
Fog is a complex atmospheric phenomenon that is heavily influenced by topography, wind conditions, nearby bodies of water as well as human activities. It transforms place into space. The familiar into something utterly different and unknown. It blurs and hides the physical boundaries of landscape features, objects and our own perception.
The invisible becomes visible. Space takes on a solid quality while solid forms appear more permeable, transient. This reversal contributes to a general feeling of uncanny disorientation and disquietness. When entering a fog-filled landscape, we pass a threshold. Beyond that threshold is a zone imbued with liminality.
From the Latin term limen meaning a real or symbolic threshold; liminality is a fluid, ethereal, in-between site where exchange, transition and transcendence occur. Conventionally, these areas contain physical, political and/or psychological edges. This could include specific places (whether natural or man- made) such as springs, caves, shoreline, rivers, marshes, bridges, crossroads, airports, hotels, frontiers, borders and disputed territories.
When fog descends, known landscapes become unnavigable. Within its presence, normal rules are suspended and anything is possible; in films this generally pertains to death, a cloak that conceals ghastly deeds. Fog may be synonymous to danger and moral blindness for writers and filmmakers but for visual artists it provides a way of encountering the world in a different, cloudy light.
In this brief examination I shall look at how fog (and how it transforms place into space) is illustrated within the creative practices of artist Brooks Shane Salzwedel and photographer Agatha A. Nitecka whilst referencing its occurrence within a cultural context.
Louise is an Illustrator, Researcher and Writer based in Falmouth. Originally from Suffolk, Louise is influenced by the writing of W.G. Sebald and interested in the interweaving of place, history and memory. Louise is currently developing a PhD proposal for her current research on Repair as Deconstructive Illustration.