I was going to get a Phd in Meteorology and developed 3d interactive topology aware data visualizations as a kid and recorded the Weather channel religiously (much to the annoyance of friends wanting to hang out , play video games or go to that party already) to play back loops of storms and radar data. I figured out a rather dorky but fun way to create storm patterns and areas of high and low pressure in a pan of water as a kid too. It was pretty cool to drop a tiny bit of dishwashing soap into a small body of water and see a “skin” break away and have greater viscosity and make weather forecasts live while listening to music. It looked rather odd when a dish was in the sink full of soap and drops of mayo like some odd suburban micro disaster with a handle but I learned to clean it up right after like no cold fronts had happened.
I later hit math at a high speed and the resultant carnage and grade point average drop for this Kreylboyne (Malcolm in the Middle was a good show..) took that other love for words and writing and shined it up quite a bit as it had no Algebra or Calculus looming within. This led to the afternoon just out of high school discovering Semiotics while watching a Bad film at a mall with friends and feeling a bit distracted. It was a cheesy action film and as car chases ensued I thought about computers made of ice versus a top end computer with one missing wire and houses with no walls versus houses with all the furniture nailed perfectly upside down on ceilings. Which was more–? More itself or not? A dystopic robot went berserk in a mall food court on the screen as I pondered the melting computer and the house one could only live in upside down and something clicked.
At Cal Arts the pimply kid who once had these eyes first explored Semiotics and Weather. The side by side comparison made total sense for a hard core weather nerd working on Semiotics papers and other kookiness. Weather has flux and shifting contexts as well as information/data much like language and writing. Elements connect in ways both Architectural/functional and symbolic/open to interpretation. There were systems in both and yet huge contradictions, confluences, simply weird spaces not to be pinned down.
Metaphor and the paradox of air mass thunderstorm behavior (text is convective)
If someone is Standing outside in say Tucson,Arizona (for example of a monsoon zone) on an August late morning with little cloud movement or wind and it is raining a nice heavy shower or thundershower the assumption may be wow it is going to be a convective stormy day. In fact the sun hits the ground and lower atmosphere and reflects pockets of instability as a response signature through humid air and this forms the “air mass” thunderstorm. The lingering cloud of the decaying rain shower will instead often stabilze the air and block the parcels of air from rising vertically thus ending convection. The rain colled air or “breath” of the cell however will often send a temperature contrast signature out from the zone it is raining that can work like a kind of trough and enhance storms rising up in the clearer areas around. It is almost a kind of cruel irony at play as the rain so exciting at 10 a.m stops the now to be unrealized 2 p.m thunderstorm.
How could this relate to language and metaphor? Oddly there are some interesting comparisons to be made. Cliche’s are seen as dead zones in language and poetics, a stable non convective place marker too familiar, in its descent and decay as opposed to the rising action and excitement of a fresh bit of simile or metaphor and word play and imagery. The cliché is the aging rain shower. Thankfully new word play moves out in directions away from this decay zone and new poems and poetics arise either away from the cliché or even somewhat inspired by some gist in its connections (breath again like that rain).
Language is quite convective.