Wind Map

Perhaps the most fortuitous result of recent weather trends was our discovery of the Wind Map, a project of the design collaboration Hint.fm. Working with the ultra-modern medium of data visualization, Hint’s Fernanda Viégas  and Martin Wattenberg create arresting works of digital art that are both immediately accessible and emotionally resonant. In their artist statement they write that their work “complicates and subverts a tool that is largely used by the business and military elite.”

During the early hours of the storm, I happened across a link to the Wind Map on someone’s Facebook, and after exploring it,  I immediately reposted. Throughout the day I checked the map obsessively, noticing that re-postings of the map were branching out, almost virally, among my friends. As the winds around us grew intense, we marveled at the sight of storm’s mighty eye swirling towards us. At the height of the storm, the Wind Map was taking several minutes to load, whether from a strain on its server due to its popularity or from the vagaries of power outages across the grid. Our ears began to pop. The winds around us howled. There were snapping sounds, and explosions, then dark. The power was down for twelve hours. When it came back up, first thing I did was check the map. The eye of the storm had passed well to the northwest, leaving us a little wistful, and relieved. –KR


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