Exhibition: Art, Data & Quality of Air

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Visit the Sheffield Institute of the Arts until 30 April to see our Air Quality+ exhibition featuring Air Transformed and Exhausted Sound.

From our early conversations with Sheffield City Council and the Local Government Association about the Air Quality+ project, the Better With Data Society were clear that we wanted a cultural dimension to the project. We wanted to explore the potential of working with artists and producing artwork as a means of engaging the public with open data and with a subject, air quality, which impacts people seriously but remains quite abstract and intangible to people.

Before Christmas, we ran a competition to commission three artworks that made use of the newly open data measuring pollutant levels taken from monitoring stations around Sheffield. The commissioned artists had just 8 weeks to develop and realise their work, ready for our showcase launch event at the end of January.

They produced three interesting and inspiring works, each focusing on a different aspect of the topic of air quality, and each working in different media:

Air Transformed – Stefanie Posavec and Miriam Quick

Two series of wearable objects based on open air quality data from Sheffield that communicate, in different ways, the physical burden of air pollution on the human body. Seeing Air comprises three pairs of glasses where pollutant levels are communicated by patterns etched on to the lenses, and Touching Air comprises three necklaces representing data on large particulate (PM10) levels.

Anatomy of Human Breath – Kasia Molga and Adrian Godwin

An interactive installation where participants breathe into a tube in order to produce a visualisation of the gas composition of their exhaled breath on one screen, which is juxtaposed with a visualisation of the real time Sheffield air quality data.

Exhausted Sound – Kingsley Ash

A musical score produced from the pollutant data is coupled with video feeds from Sheffield’s traffic cameras. In the live version of this work, the score is performed by musicians, while audience members are invited to pedal a stationary bicycle, their pedalling rate controlling the tempo of the music.

Visit the Sheffield Institute of the Arts (Cantor Building atrium area, Arundel Lane, Sheffield, S1 2NU) until 30 April to see our Air Quality+ exhibition featuring Air Transformed and Exhausted Sound.

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