Art can help us make sense of challenging and complex topics, including the global air quality crisis. Artists can create beautiful works like Michael Pinsky’s Pollution Pods installation that challenge us to engage with the topic on a deeper level.
Michael’s installation is made up of five interconnected geodesic domes containing carefully mixed recipes emulating the relative presence of ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. We helped Michael out with the data he needed to replicate the various atmospheric conditions in London, New Delhi, San Paolo and Beijing, and other locations. Starting from a coastal location in Norway, the visitor passes through increasingly polluted cells, from dry and cold locations to hot and humid.
Full scale, immersive installations like Pinky’s might be out of reach for many aspiring environmental artists, but there’s lots of room to create on many different levels.
If the medium is the message then artists like Cath Love working with Air Ink from India-based Graviky Labs are shouting out loud and clear.
Graviky Labs actually captures carbon out of the air and up-cycles it into paints and other industrial materials—allowing artists and designers to actually paint with the air.
If you live in an area with consistently high pollution, masks have probably been a part of your life at some point—either on yourself or seen in the streets. Anti-pollution masks have become a symbol of the fight for clean air and this point is not lost on artist and founder of Art of Change 21, Alice Andouin.
Andouin’s Maskbook project “raises awareness and mobilizes the public through creativity using the anti-pollution mask. The anxiety dimension of this type of mask is reversed to become an artistic and committed tool. More than 6,000 people from more than 40 countries created their masks from waste and gave them a name and a message. This collective work is also a real citizen advocacy. Citizens, artists and celebrities from around the world, everyone is invited to contribute to the Masbook project. Thanks to its strong visual impact, Maskbook manages to mobilize youth, who are particularly invested in the project.”
There are many more examples of artists working to clear the air through their art—big and small!
The art and science of air quality are close to our hearts, so if you are an artists and have an idea about creating new and interesting ways of engaging with air pollution data and the topic as a whole, we’d love to hear from you.