I have come to believe that Art can transform anything. Be it a person or the entire society – A piece of Art has the power to ignite the much need spark in people who are dealing with grave issues that now govern our country. Artists from around the world have always tried really hard to incorporate various environmental issues and problems in their work. Some of these artists are not turning air pollution into art – a way of creative freedom which tackles one of the most grievous problems of Air Pollution.
The WHO (World Health Organization) has already stated that 9 out of 10 people are breathing toxic air. Also, every year an estimated 7 million premature deaths take place which is directly or indirectly related to Air Pollution in some way or the other. This hasn’t just brought great setback to the living conditions but has also put the factor of Climate Change into a crisis that needs instant attention.
It would be too late if something is not done to eradicate and/or for the better sense of the word – Repress the Polluted Air in some way. Artists from around the world have come up with their own ways to tackle the issue. The aim is to raise awareness and also in the process use Air Pollution as a resource.
The Pollution Pods were inspired by the differences between the various types of Air Pollution. Micheal Pinsky’s project consists of five domes – Each of which imitate air in five areas of the world. The Air the domes imitate is supposed to come close to the one in Northen Norway, London, New Delhi, Bejing, and São Paulo. The idea is to tackle the various levels of Air through these five domes that each have their own separate quality of Air within.
Pinksy told the UN Environment that he wanted all the domes to have different sensations than the other. His idea is to tackle the pollution based on the character of the air that is produced through them. For instance, Pinsky recreated the smell of diesel for the dome based on London Air, the smell of industrial fumes, coal or wood-based heating for Beijing and small whiffs of burned plastic and for Delhi which already has a lot of rubbish burning.
Pinksy has only copied the smell and visibility of the harmful Air and not the Air itself. Which makes his idea of Art truly unique. He wishes to give the experience of this kind of manufactured air which is equally unpleasant as Air Pollution is in no way a pleasant scenario. The artist wishes that these pods will make people take steps towards the repression in a more radical form. He also says that it’s really tough to tackle the facade but if good policies are put into place – A city and/or a country can transform in a span of approximately 2 years.
After living and witnessing Bejing strive for better economic development and well-being, Daan Roosegaarde was motivated to create the Smog-free Tower. He claims that his invention is the biggest smog vacuum cleaner in the world wherein it sucks the polluted air from the atmosphere, cleans it and releases it back. The idea came to him when he introspected about his contribution to the well-being of the environment. He wanted to help in a way that did not involve him donating money. So, since he comes from an engineering background he came up with the artist idea of a clean-air Oasis.
The smog-free towards are huge structures that sit in a city park and clean 20-70% of the Air in a go. He said that his invention uses positive ionization technology to clean large volumes of particulate particles. These towers have now become common in other cities as well. China, Poland, the Netherlands all have their own rendition of Roosegaarde’s Smog-free towers. He has also said that this invention is not the end of Air Pollution in any way. He said that the ultimate goal is to not have these smog-free towers at all. Turning Air Pollution into Art is just a beginning.
The latest of the many creative resources that have come out of Air Pollutions radical effects on the Environment is the Air Pollution-based ink. Anirudh Sharma who realized that Air Pollution can be turned to usable ink while casually sitting in his home in Mumbai has said that the sooty particulate matter present in Air are actually black particles from the exhaust of vehicles. After returning to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sharma consulted his alma mater about the Air Pollution back in India. After a lot of research, he decided to set up Graviky Labs.
The startup has now developed a technology that can be attached to the diesel exhaust system. This tech will capture Particulate Matter which is later treated by the Graviky team to turn into soot and later to ink. This initiative is called Air-Ink and is used by a lot of artists from around the world.
So far the company has captured 1.6 billion micrograms of pollutants which is a huge figure considering how it equates to 1.6 trillion liters of outdoor air. Sharma says that turning Air Pollution into Art is what they aim for.
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