‘Space to Breathe’ Exhibition at Somerset House 

This two day workshop/exhibition at Somerset House was held by ‘Science and Environment’ students, in an attempt to creatively inform the public on the issue of air pollution in both installation and text, whilst also discussing sustainability. Their aim was demonstrate how there are alternative ways to counteract the negative impacts of air pollution. They were able to get in touch with their creative instincts to produce an educational but also beautiful experience.

The first piece we encountered was 3D printed. This creation by Dave Farnham describes a woman’s recovery from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This was to show the fragility of lungs.

There was was a strange mask attached to a natural oxygen tank (image below). Chih Chiu made the intriguing contraption in response to air pollution. Referencing diving equipment, this backpack demonstrates a potential dystopian need to wear a mask to purify, maybe symbolising a future portable accessory?

Wesley Goatley’s work Breathing Mephitic Air (image below) consisted of suspended plastic sheets project with images from all sides. A fan created ripples in the material, giving life to the once static image, showcasing how the data of air pollution can be collected into an interactive composition. The volume the sound were in correlation to the image and the amount of pollution in that location. This meant when immersing ourselves in the room the complex adjustments to our senses pulled us out of reality and submerged us into a hypnotic state.

Overall this interactive exhibition shows the success of blending art and science. They primarily use workshops to attract the individual by inspiring and motivating the public to critically think about potential change. This could be a productive way of combining the two fields in our own collaborative practice. It seems that involving the public in something that they can relate to and understand can make the underlying complexity of science more accessible.

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