Thursday, April 2, 2009


What is anemography? Anemos is the ancient greek word for wind. Above is a painting of what William-Adolphe Bouguereau thought might have happened when the god of the west wind, Zephyrus, met the goddess Chloris. Anemography is the practice of extracting drawings from the wind. To do this I have made simple machines that react to changes in the wind and produce drawings. This is what they look like. I made this pair in the Spring of 2008 when I came to Penland to take Jon Brook's  class called "Ideas Drawn from Nature".  I took the title literally.

These machines are modeled after two of my favorite things, windmills and dinosaurs. Specifically pterosaurs (aka pterodactyls). Please note the example below.

Why collect drawings made by the wind? When I was about 7 years old, I woke one night with the suspicion that beneath the sheen of order we perceive in everyday life, the universe might in fact be nothing more than a random jumble of systems. I began to look everywhere for a harmony that never appeared. Since then I have resigned myself to the fact that randomness itself is beautiful. In some small way, these machines isolate some of this randomness into a tangible artifact. I call these drawings anemograms.

They normally look really cool like this, but one time I got the message "STOP>THE WIND HAS NOTHING TO TELL YOU> MORTAL BEWARE OUR WRATH" scrawled in an anemogram.

1 comment:

  1. Mark,

    I love this series of drawings and your process in making them. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for the whole "I'm going to be clever and interpret the title of this class literally thing", but I agree with you-- the drawings look really cool.

    - Rage