The Meteorological Occult: Submergences in the Venetian Fog

Duncan, Ifor. 2021. The Meteorological Occult: Submergences in the Venetian Fog. Lagoonscapes. The Venice Journal of Environmental Humanities, 1(1), pp. 37-58. ISSN 2785-2709 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Blinking away fog as it collects between eyelashes – this article begins with a night walk in Venice and a reflection on an embodied encounter with countless suspended water particles. Here I consider fog as a political materiality in an expanded cultural and meteorological context, where, rather than simply limiting visibility, fog acts as an unexpected lens onto slow forms of pollution. In doing so, I turn to the scientific term ‘occult deposition’ – the settling of unsensed pollutants carried by fogs, mists, clouds, dew, and frosts onto surfaces, vegetation, and skin – and adapt it to develop the concept of ‘occult meteorology’. By doing so, I work towards reorienting the cultural significance of the occult. With this reorientation, instead of limiting human sensing, or harbouring unknown and threatening supernatural presences, fog is the intensity of sensing, relationally mediating through eyes, mouths and skins. Here bodies are submerged in everyday and imperceptibly polluted environments even above the surface of water, while fog disorients vast infrastructural systems, from commercial flight to petrochemical logistics. Thinking alongside Esther Leslie and Craig Martin, this article brings earth sciences into encounter with literature and cinema to attend to fog as both metaphor and materiality in the context of environmental degradation.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Weather, Venice, Submergence, Embodiment, Environmental media, Environmental sensing, Meteorology

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures
Visual Cultures > Centre for Research Architecture


19 November 2021Accepted
20 December 2021Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

13 Jul 2023 11:47

Last Modified:

13 Jul 2023 11:47

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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