WINDscale, visualizing the wind in a picture


Despite the increasing availability of megapixels and bandwidth, we have become used to the resolution and detail loss, often due to cheap and lossy image compression techniques. The most interesting content on the net is usually not the official crystal clear streamed video, but some unofficial or plainly pirated one, digitally stolen from other sources through non professional hardware and software combinations and then uploaded on content sharing websites and peer-to-peer networks. WINDscale is an artwork by Rob Smith that visualizes wind speed in a picture. It uses an anemometer (a tool for measuring wind speed) placed on Jaywick Martello Tower on the Essex Coast (East of England). Data are then passed to a computer that changes the pixellation of the tool’s live picture, accordingly. In this installation, the image is a functional mirror of what it represents. The meaning of the pixel configuration and detail is then to visually embody an almost invisible content of the image. Here, pixels are used as an embedded data displayer, conceptually coupling the usual loss in video signal air reception (due to the wind) with this digital representation that instantly reproduces it through an effective data visualization concept.