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Singing (in Several Voices) in the (Same) Rain. Cultural Symbols and Cognition in the Aesthetics of Weather

From the book Aesthetics Today
Mădălina Diaconu

Abstract

Weather phenomena have largely been subject to a persistent “oblivion” in modern aesthetics so far, and the few authors who recently pondered the possibility of a“celestial aesthetics,” be it in the frame of the North-American environmental aesthetics or of the phenomenology of atmosphere, face specific difficulties in extending the aesthetic theory to physical atmospheres. One of these problems concerns the relationship between emotional and cognitive factors in the experience of atmospheric conditions. This paper focuses on the influence of cognition on the perception and aesthetic appreciation of atmospheric events, in particular on the shift of relevance from mythical imagination to science communication-specifically, on the example of rain. Examples taken from global, contemporary popular culture reflect the latent tension between the mostly positive signification of rain in the traditional agrarian cultures, where rain was regarded as a divine gift and a symbol of fertility, and the spreading fear of acid rain in the age of industrial pollution.

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston