This article uses a non-Western, scientific, and ecocritical perspective to explore the nature-cultural phenomenon of “smog life,” that is, outdoor activities taking place on a smog day, such as hiking, enjoying the fog, or practicing taiji. It presents a sharp contrast with environmentally focused, avant-garde smog art. Although avant-garde smog art is in line with today's scientific correctness by virtue of its strong commitment to activism, I believe that everyday smog life, which is viewed either as “ecoambiguous” or as “smog Ah-Q,” is in effect more subversive than its avant-garde smog art counterpart. What has undergirded smog life is a collective ecological unconsciousness—the premodern “mist” consciousness—that is suppressed in “smog modernity,” of which scientific discourse pertaining to topics such as toxic smog (mai) has become the predominant way of conceptualizing air. The author reads this suppressed mist (wu) or qi consciousness as a form of resistance against the current scientific-corrective discourse and scientism. If we situate smog life in the context of how traditional Chinese culture has been systematically marginalized in the imperialization of technological modernity, today's air-pollution-induced smog life is in actuality an invitation to explore other cognitive possibilities for air beyond the scientific. The hidden ecological consciousness and its discourse help subvert the cyberization of life and the legitimacy of an exclusive scientific epistemology as the only means of knowing.

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