Johanna Drucker's Artist Books
An online repository of facsimiles, metadata, and commentary

Subjective Meteorology


Project Statement

The overall project of subjective meteorology has a long history, going back to event drawings and writings in the 1970s. This book is the presentation of research done at UC Santa Barbara in the spring of 2004 when Drucker was the Digital Humanities Fellow and worked on the diagrammatic representation of subjective experience. This project in turn extended some of the ideas in the Temporal Modeling project done at University of Virginia in 2000-02 as a visualization space. Subjective Meteorology takes the terminology and templates of traditional meteorology and uses them as a way to describe subjective experience through a subsitution of vocabulary.

Production Narrative

The book was produced in InDesign on a Mac from text and image files and then printed on a laser printer, two sided, and then bound. The images had to be redrawn from the large (22 x 30") originals in order to be scanned. So they are almost identical to the originals, but not quite. The end sheets were produced using water color and scatter technique to artificially age and distress the papers. The hand-sewing and collating were done at Warren Lane, as was the printing, and the page corners were hand-trimmed.

Critical Analysis

Design Features

typographic: All type is agenda, small, delicate, clean, compact.

imagery: The imagery is all taken from the drawings, and except for pages 24 and 25, which show the graphical elements of the system, the images are on the plates in their separate slip case.

graphical: The layout is clean, meant to reference scientific journals and texts.

openings: Insignificant in any way, merely functional, designed to be clean.

textual: The texts and images are related to each other, and the texts are multi-layered. A series of statements about the emotional, personal weather accompany each drawing and were made at the same time as the graphical notation of moods and events in the emotional atmosphere. But the gloss on those texts, in the footnotes, was added afterward, as a way to expand on the vocabulary. The text describes a replete and consistent system, but it is pretty far out there in its combination of abstraction and idiosyncratic particulars.

Critical Discussion

Easily one of the strangest books in Drucker's ouevre, this book is dense with information and the details of its system. It purports to be a complete system for describing emotional weather, and even has a page that is a workbook sheet for a reader to try to chart their own subjective meteorological event. The tone is a combination of tongue-in-cheek, deadpan seriousness, and high, arch formalism in a quasi-absurd and yet completely serious mode. It is a pretty book, in part because it is so clean, and it does masquerade as an artifact from a scientific world.



Johanna Drucker

type: initiating


Publication Information

publisher: Druckwerk

publication history: Published in 2005.

Aesthetic Profile

autobiography (AAT)

themes: A system for the representation of personal weather.

content form:
notebooks (local)

publication tradition:
conceptual (local)

inspiration: Weather maps and language.

related works: Events, and also, parts of From A to Z that describe narrative events in terms of weather, and the large-scale Experience of the Medium from 1979.

other influences: The graphics and language of meteorology.

community: other UC Santa Barbara, Digital humanities community, and University of Virginia, SpecLab.

note: One of the stranger sustained experiments in imaginative diagramming.

Related Documents

manuscript type: texts

location: artist's archive

note: In the collection of Johanna Drucker.

manuscript type: mockups

location: artist's archive

note: In the collection of Johanna Drucker.

manuscript type: other

location: artist's archive

note: Large, original drawings in the collection of Johanna Drucker.

General Comments

title note: Subtitle: Dynamics of Personal Weather


Publication Information

edition type: editioned

publisher: Druckwerk

place: Charlottesville, Virginia

edition size: 12 Copies


horizontal: 5.5 inches closed

vertical: 8.5 inches closed

depth: .15 inches closed

Production Information

production means:
laser (AAT)

binding: other Sewn pamphlet.

bookBlock: paper


general description: A small, precious looking object that resembles a laboratory journal from a 19th century naturalist's kit, with green fake snake-skin covers, curved corners on the pages, and spattered endsheets. A group of plates are put into a little manilla envelope slipcase at the back of the book. This is more of a dummy for publication than a finished, finalized book, but it gives the general impression of what a larger edition would look like.

format: pamphlet (AAT)

cover: Cover is paper pressed to look like green snakeskin, on which a label is pasted. The effect is to make the book look like an antique laboratory journal. The inside of the covers has a spatter pattern made in watercolor.

color: no

devices: none


pagination: paginated 28 numbered pages.

numbered?: numbered

signed?: signed



Related Documents

manuscript type: texts

location: other