Air Current(s) is a screen-based project that generates a dynamic wind drawing. Weather instruments and custom electronics capture wind data and pass it along to a computer which interprets the data in real-time to make an animated drawing. The drawing is made with randomly placed shapes that move according to current wind conditions. Winds from the south, for example, push the shapes up, while winds from the east push them left. Faster wind speeds make the shapes move faster. The drawing continuously draws over itself making a temporary record of wind conditions.
Air Current(s) has been shown at the Asheville Art Museum in Asheville, NC as part of their “Prime Time: New Media Juried Exhibition” and in my 2013 solo exhibition, “Coded Responses,” at the Cary Arts Center in Cary, NC. Color versions, with wind speed keyed to color, have been shown during “Absolut Open Canvas” in Brooklyn, New York, “This Land” at Salisbury University in Maryland, and “Science as Art” at the Caldwell Arts Council in Lenoir, NC.
Dr. James Hatley, write the following about Air Current(s) in the “This Land” exhibition catalog:
Through the digital arts informed by computer software, data recording and image projection, Mark Nystrom’s alchemical transformation of the winds blowing over the roof of Fulton Hall is not only beautiful in its aesthetic impact but also deeply informative of the remarkable complexity of the wind’s movement, its mercurial gestures with their varying intensities and orientations. All too often the living world has become a vague presence to the denizens of contemporary technocratic culture, who have all too often reduced the earth to a green blur passing by its car windows, or an entertaining flickering of colors and shapes on a computer screen. But in Air Current(s) Nystrom, rather than abjuring the omnipresent technological processing of the living world characterizing our time has challenged himself and his audience to embrace it in a manner that is more rather than less heedful of the land and its many subtle qualities. Electronically illuminated screens need not always be a way of veiling or blunting our interaction with the elements of land. They can also uncover truths about it that would otherwise go unnoticed.
The latest version of this project, Air Current(s) 2.0, draws with slightly different shapes and uses color to indicate wind direction.