Flash Fog first appeared on Whitley Bay beach at Shimmer, Digital Arts Festival in November 2011. Conceived as an immersive landscape of fog, flashing lights and foghorns to summon the spirit of the sea, the sea fret, a seaside phenomenon particular to the north east coast. For Shimmer 2012 the tide was in and Flash Fog blew upon the Links bringing with it ‘John Denyer’, a coble fishing boat from nearby Cullercoats to be scrutinized by curious visitors and knowledgeable locals. For Shimmer 2013, Flash Fog returned for one last dance to a new soundscape by Alex Peverett under the modernist dome of Spanish City.
“But English fogs are also worth a visit. An annual art installation on the North Sea coast at Whitley Bay recreates the effects of a sea ‘haar’ – a fog which forms rapidly in salt-laden air on the east coast. The first Flash Fog by Colin Priest rolled across the beach in November 2011, brilliantly spotlit, spectral white with brown stains curling through it. ‘FOG’ was spelled out in white neon, the pop-art tubular brightness softened and made ghostly by drifting smoke. In the cold and wind of a November night, visitors jumped and shouted. Children blew on foghorns which were really hooters and sounded, in chorus, more like the high wailing of gulls, joyous and plaintive at once – a fitting sound for grey. Flash Fog makes you want to go to Whitley. You would go there in hope of a haar as you would go to the Artic in hope of the aurora borealis.”
Weatherland, Writers and artists under English Skies
Thames & Hudson, 2015