While working on our London Air Quality project we’re excited to see fashion is also getting involved in finding solutions. In an amazing piece of high tech innovation, Helen Storey and Tony Ryan have brought science and art together to explore how clothing and textiles can be used to purify air as we walk. The idea of ‘Catalytic Clothing’ is to harnesses the power of a photocatalyst, to break down airborne pollutants, acting as a ‘catalytic surface’.
See their beautiful film starring an air purifying clad Erin O’Connor moving balletically to a Radiohead soundtrack:
On the political side of things the debate around Air Quality is growing. Caroline Lucas wrote an article for Guardian yesterday on the severity of the situation. She says the Government is still lacking the urgency needed to investigate solutions rather than begging for more time. The current threat from the air we breathe is not the obvious smog cloud from the 1950’s, but an unseen pollutant.
Our air quality project collaborator Professor Frank Kelly of the Environmental Research group at King’s College London warned: “we have this new problem that we cannot see: it is tiny particles of nitrogen dioxide.” With this invisibility issue comes the lack of public communication on the dangers of high levels of these pollutants present. Designing engaging communications around Air Quality in our urban environments is what we’re working on here at Creative Data.
However, we are now seeing encouraging movement in the public space on this topic. There’s the interesting Invisible Dust art project and last week a Healthy Air Campaign was launched – a coalition including Asthma UK, Campaign for Better Transport and Friends of the Earth. What’s more we’re writing all this today on the day that UK environmental group Climate Rush is staging an air quality protest in London.
This evening Mayoral candidate Jenny Jones will lead a roadblock protest with cyclists hitting London’s streets to stage a “die-in” at the city’s busiest junctions. The protesters plan to play dead for up to 29 minutes, to symbolise the 29 000 premature deaths attributed to poor air quality in the UK – nearly 5% of all annual UK deaths.