I designed a site that captures the current temperature, precipitation, cloud cover, and wind speed for any chosen city, and then selects objects from the RISD Museum’s collection that are consistent with those conditions. In doing so, curatorial control is shared between the viewer and the weather, and objects that might never hang in the same space are shown together.
The weather touches everything from the urgent issues of climate change, to the ubiquitous mundanities of everyday life. It is a minor inconvenience, a topic of small talk, or a geopolitical crisis. It is global but still entirely personal.
Unsurprisingly it infuses art and design.
Rococo painters like grand cumulonimbus clouds behind the grand subjects of their grand paintings. Cirrocumulus, altocumulus and stratocumulus suit the brush strokes of the impressionists. The clothes we wear play (at least some) practical role in keeping off the rain, or keeping in the heat. The environment creeps into artists’ and designers’ minds, and yields grey smoggy lithographs of the Thames, and bright textiles from the American Southwest.
The result is that in museums — where art is often curated by era and region — every work in a gallery often depicts, or is the product of the same weather. This website draws from the collection at the RISD Museum to make the same connections, but across the collection.
Marcus Peabody, RISD Graphic Design MFA 2019.