the air we breathe

the air we breathe
mixed media installation (video, digital printed banners on silk/poly, LED lights, beeswax candles, handmade air purifiers with digital printed cotton and activated carbon, cotton and hand dyed natural silk sheets, postcards, participatory project). made for an exhibition at Gallery 44 in Toronto January 6 – February 4, 2023, curated by Lillian O’Brien Davis
check out the online postcard project part of Gallery 44 Digital. and read some background supporting the project.

the air we breathe is an expanded, experimental documentary that thinks through the complexities of air pollution by weaving together themes of environmental catastrophe, environmental racism, cultural and political shifts, and conspiracy.

Combining research into air pollution along with personal storytelling and speculative imaginings, this project deeply considers the complicated ways in which our air impacts us: from the way that smells travel through it and the memories they evoke; to the physical impacts of pollutants through shared inhalation; to the ways in which the air serves as a metaphor of connection in a cultural sense. Exploring the systemically racist decisions that result in unequally distributed impacts of air pollutants across geographies, this work considers the act of breathing as one of both political and social potential.

A participatory element took place across Edmonton during the summer of 2022, as a way to think through these issues with a collective of others. Taking place through both the mail and online, this collective endeavour spent time thinking about the ways that smell and memory intertwine across issues of air pollution and social/cultural shifts. I’m grateful to: Chelsea BoosMitch ChalifouxSoni DasmohapatraNadia Kurd, Grace Law, and Elsa Robinson, for thinking more deeply along with me about the impacts of air pollution across the summer of 2022.

the air we breathe is part of the larger, ongoing project FORECAST, which considers the entanglement between environmental, social, political, and economic challenges facing the current moment.

the air we breathe was supported by the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton.

Exhibition documentation by Darren Rigo, Courtesy of Gallery 44: