A One-Weekend Exhibit Clears Up London’s Pollution Problem with Art

The impact of air pollution in London makes for an interactive, educational experience at Somerset House.

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14 January 2017, 5:10am

Voyage on the Planet, Chih Chiu. All images courtesy the artists and Somerset House

The fight for clean, unpolluted air can bring about a more visually appealing environment as well as a healthier longevity for the planet. Improvements in air quality and lowered pollution levels can dramatically improve the lives of inhabitants in big cities. Hoping to educate and enlighten people about the potential to live in a cleaner, more naturally enjoyable world, a free exhibit at the Somerset House hopes to raise awareness through a “weekend of creative action.” Space to Breathe will include installations, workshops, performances, among other interactive exhibits open to the public over the last weekend of January. A priority of the exhibit is spreading information on the reality of London’s frighteningly high levels of air pollution to organize action for the environment.

Correcting some of the wrongs of London’s air quality will not be easy. According to a 2016 piece from The Guardian, soaring levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in the air can directly affect health in the short-term, but also shorten a person's overall lifespan. At times, the air pollution is completely invisible, immune to human sight and smell, thus contributing to a lack of awareness by Londoners. The Space to Breathe series is one leg of the project, UTOPIA 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility, brought together with Somerset, King’s College London, and The Courtauld Institute and Gallery.

See a few pieces from the health-promoting weekend of art and environmental impact, below:

© SolarSoundSystem

© SolarSoundSystem

Lungs, Dave Farnham © The Wellcome Trust. Photo: Ben Gilbert

Rhizome 2.0, SPILL Festival of Performance 2016, 
Emily Godden & Audit Chaos, produced by Pacitti Company. Photo: Guido Mencari

Breath Control, 
Caroline Wright. Photo: Tony Millings

Breathing Mephitic Air, 
Wesley Goatley

Space to Breathe takes place from Saturday, January 28 to Sunday, January 29, 2017. The exhibit is free of charge, and visitors are welcomed to drop-in at Somerset House in London. Learn more at the show’s website, here.

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