• 02:35 A 100-120 decibel steam powered horn on a coastline: how did that happen?
  • 05:02 “Foghorn Requiem”, a starting point
  • 08:45 A massive sound
  • 13:32 Holes in official archives
  • 21:01 Archivists: the invisible heroes
  • 23:10 How it got foggy: the fallibility of archives, memory and sound
  • 26:40 An individual character for every foghorn
  • 28:28 Types of foghorns
  • 30:26 A sound disconnected from its function
  • 34:17 A sound that is lost and not lost at the same time
  • 37:22 Meteorology and aurality
  • 39:23 Music and foghorns: Ingram Marshall’s 'Fog Tropes'
  • 40:39 Music and foghorns: Alvin Curran’s 'Maritime Rites'
  • 43:34 Sensory experiences, language and documentation
01/06/2018 46' 34''

This podcast is part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union. Music commissioned to Tiago Pina. Editing by Matias Rossi.

The foghorn is a sonic marker used in conditions of low visibility to alert vessels of hidden navigational hazards. Part of the coastal landscape since its invention in the nineteenth century, foghorns became obsolete with the rise of automatic alert systems or simpler devices such as compressed air horns.

In 2013, the British writer and research Jennifer Lucy Allan, co-director of the record label Arc Light Editions, covered a performance of the 'Foghorn Requiem', a composition that marks the passing of the foghorn from the British coastal landscape. In her review she wrote: 'The foghorn symbolises the sound of industry, the hollering of an age of engines, machines and power, and also a sound that is intensely nostalgic. It suggests loneliness and isolation, but is simultaneously a wordless reassurance to those out at sea that there’s a human presence nearby.' The experience made such a strong impression on her that she ended up dedicating her doctoral thesis to researching the social and cultural history of foghorns, 'a sound that’s lost and not lost at the same time.'

In this podcast we talk to Jennifer Lucy Allan about metereology and aurality, about volumes, distance and communities, about sounds disconnected from their function, holes in YouTube and holes in official archives, and amateur archivists. And about the making of sensory records before the end of the twentieth century and how this archival memory can be interpreted.

Son[i]aJennifer Lucy AllanRe-Imagine EuropeCreative Commons#2018 most listened podcastssurprise me!Sonic Actsfoghorn