this is a picture of wind

J. R. Carpenter


This work expands upon a series of short texts written in response to the winter storms which battered South West England in early 2014, resulting in catastrophic flooding in Somerset and the destruction of the seawall and rail line at Dawlish in Devon. Following the news in the months after these storms, I was struck by the paradox presented by attempts to evoke through the materiality of language a force such as wind which we can only see indirectly through its affect. I began to explore weather in all its written forms.

Part poetic almanac, part private weather diary, and part live wind report for the South West of England, this work attempts to call attention to climate change by picturing through variations in language the disturbances and sudden absences left in the wake of wind.

This work is designed to be viewed on phones. It also works on computers. It responds to live weather data, so it will be slightly different each time you visit. A new text will be added for each month of 2018. An essay about this work written by Johanna Drucker will be published in March 2018.

This is a Picture of Wind was commissioned by IOTA: DATA, with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Initial research for this project was made possible by a Dot Award for Digital Literature, from if:book and the New Media Writing Prize.

Many thanks to Michael & Utte, Gillian Sze, Mireille Bourgeois, Chris Meade, Kay Lovelace, Johanna Drucker, Michael Saunby, Peter Dickinson, and Jerome Fletcher.

Further Reading:

Aristotle (1952 [350 BCE] Meteorologica, Lobe Classical Library, Harvard University Press

J. R. Carpenter (2017) The Gathering Cloud, Uniformbooks

John Clare (2014 [1827]) The Shepherd’s Calendar, Oxford University Press

Daniel Defoe (2005 [1704]) The Storm. Penguin Classics

Alexandra Harris (2016) Weatherland: Writers and Artist Under English Skies. London: Thames & Hudson, 2016

Luke Howard (1803) On the Modifications of Clouds. (PDF)

Luke Howard (1847) Barometrographia. London

Scott Huler (2004) Defining the Wind: The Beaufort Scale, and How a 19th-century Admiral Turned Science into Poetry. NY: Crown Publishers

Lucretius (1951 [55 BCE]) The Nature of the Universe. London: Penguin Classics

Peter Moore (2015) The Weather Experiment: The Pioneers Who Sought to See the Future. London: Vintage

Lisa Robertson (2001) The Weather. London: Reality Street

John Ruskin (1899) The Queen of the Air: A Study of the Greek Myths of Cloud and Storm. London: George Allen

Gilbert White (1993 [1789]) The Natural History of Selborne. London: Thames & Hudson

National Meteorological Library and Archive, Met Office, Exeter, UK