In the Air
Wellcome Collection Exhibition
19 May 2022 –
In the Air explores our relationship with the air around us. Moving freely across borders and through bodies, air is both vital to our existence and a threat to our health. The air we share is investigated through the work of Tacita Dean, David Rickard, Dryden Goodwin, Forensic Architecture, Choked Up, Anna Atkins, Black and Brown Films, Irene Kopelman, Ernst Haeckel, John Evelyn and Matterlurgy.
Mark Peter Wright and Helena Hunter are the collaborative duo Matterlurgy, whose work ‘Air Morphologies’ investigates the materiality and composition of air pollution particles, their causes, effects and morphological agency. This panoramic film installation addresses how art and aesthetics interact with toxic materials; what kind of stories might be deployed through digital technologies; and how geopolitics are located in atmospheric thinking and being. Read more on Matterlurgy’s website.
In The Air exhibition explores the relationship between the air and earth, from 3.5-billion-year-old fossilised bacteria that first introduced oxygen into the atmosphere to delicate porcelain sculptures of the glaciers that provide a record of the air and our impact on it. It charts the history of activism against pollution from 17th-century accounts of coal smoke in London to contemporary protests against levels of toxic air that disproportionately impact communities of colour in our cities. Immersive and imaginative film installations introduce us to magnified versions of the particles that occupy our air; reveal the ways that air is weaponised across the world – but also reconnect us to the healing properties of fresh air.
Image: Air Morphologies installation at Wellcome Collection, by Matterlurgy.