A few nights ago I found myself watching an English mystery movie. There seems to be the rule that if a movie is set in victorian-era London, than it must have at least one scene on an incredibly foggy cobblestone street, usually with a horse-drawn buggy clip-clopping out and back into the fog.
So why isn’t there a place you can go – a room – that has a bunch of fog in it?
While we have nearly infinite options of venues when it comes to types lighting, there isn’t a big range of options when it comes to visibility. Let’s explore that a bit.
My first thought was why not an experience room replicating this english trope? You sit in a room filled with fog. The visibility is about three feet. The room is filled with sounds (preferably some kind of 360 degree sound) of horses clip clopping and people bustling about. Probably some kid shouting something about buying his newspaper for five pence.
Later in this dated and mostly terrible movie which I eventually stopped watching mid-way (as I do most movies) the characters ended up at Loch Ness. To me, that was a sign that the universe was trying to tell me something (other than for god’s sake stop watching this terrible movie).
So perhaps in The Fog Room you are given the impression that you are on a cobblestone street with clip clopping horses one minute, and then out of the fog comes the head of Nessie. Not that you can completely make her out, but just enough as to replicate the infamous photo.
But would this be a fog room filled with the like of jack the ripper and a seamonster? That’s the obvious associative choice. Let’s not be some lazy and thoughtless. Let’s dig deeper.
Fog, for me at least, has a melancholy feel. It can be made ominous, but I think at its core is a calmness and solitude and dreaminess that is not necessary a scary place. So perhaps the music of the room signals that the monster is not there to attack and there’s no murderer in your midst. It’s just a weird dreamy room where random fog-related things happen.
Like foghorns. The foghorn could signal changes to the scene. Or it could signal that you are actually on a boat, not on a street. Or that you’ve transitioned to another scene.
Speaking of scene. If this is a scene, is it part of a play? Is this immersive theater or just random stuff happening? If theater, do you have choices or agency or are you merely a passive, seemingly invisible observer? How many others are experiencing the play with you?
You could take the immersive theater or random arty experience in a million directions. But let’s take this fog-room experience away from those arenas. Instead let’s go somewhere more unexpected and not allow our associative mind to get stuck on the first appealing ideas.
How about the world’s foggiest coffeeshop. It’s like your usual coffeeshop with everyone sitting around on their laptops or talking to friends, but there’s only three feet of visibility because the room is filled with a whole lot of relentless fog. You can see your friend, you can see your laptop, but it gives you a sense of privacy because you can’t really see anyone else. What would that be like? Would people get louder? Quieter? Would it be fun? Disconcerting? Could we even introduce some of the clip-clop and Loch Ness monster elements into this coffeeshop?
Now, picture any business a foggy business. Think of your whole day covered in fog. Your weekend covered in fog. What are the things you do that would be more interesting – at least temporarily – if they were shrouded in fog?