Screenshots is a regular feature by Simon Groth, highlighting a project, app, or other resource of interest.
This is a Picture of Wind
by J. R. Carpenter
Gales from westward. Sharp depression. Late summer thunder.
Removed from their context, the language of weather reports has its own poetic lilt, something observed by many poets and songwriters over the years. J. R. Carpenter contributes to this tradition with a poem that matches its language to some clever and refined web design.
This is a Picture of Wind is a poem that expands, with each stanza attached to a calendar month. Limitless horizontal scrolling is not often a successful design strategy, but here, where the same year rolls around again and again, it makes perfect sense. The scrolling mechanism is layered under hand-drawn weather map elements and gives this piece an almost tactile quality, like you could reach behind the screen and hold the map in your hands.
The text itself is a conversation, an exchange between two characters from different places. Drawing from live weather data, its subtly changes with each visit to the site.
This is a Picture of Wind is an exploration of the language of weather, but also a response to its limitations. Written in the wake of a flood, it highlights how our descriptions cannot match the reality of the weather’s sometimes destructive force.