Invisible Dust is a not for profit organisation and involves leading artists, creative technologists and scientists exploring our environment and climate change to produce exciting new art and science exhibitions and events.
Four current projects 2013/15
1. Elizabeth Price is in residence with space scientist Dr Hugh Mortimer at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and creating her first new video work Sunlight since winning the Turner Prize in 2012. The first exhibition is on until 28th December 2013 at Focal Point Gallery, Southend. Sunlight includes images of the sun taken by scientists since 1900 and will evolve through each presentation by Price including with Invisible Dust at the Royal Observatory.
2. Phil Coy is developing a new artwork for the Royal Museums Greenwich on satellites with a number of space scientific advisors including Dr Marek Kukula, public astronomer at the Royal Observatory.
3. Mariele Neudecker has created a series of video installations on the deep sea For Now We See with marine biologist Professor Alex Rogers, Oxford University. We are planning to tour the work, including at ‘Science in the City’, ESOF Copenhagen 2014.
4. National project – Invisible Dust in Museums: National Maritime Museum, Manchester Museum and Woodhorn Museum.
We are working with three museums nationally and will be devising residencies and exhibitions with artists including Elizabeth Price, Phil Coy, Eve Mosher, Owl Project and Laura Harrington responding to the Museum’s programmes and collections. Supported by Arts Council England, Manchester University and Siemens one of the first events Ways of seeing climate change, took place on 30th October in Manchester with filmmaker David Malone, (BBC4′s Metamorphosis: The Science of Change, 2013); John Vidal, environment editor of the Guardian, performances by Adam Chodzko and Ellie Harrison and climate scientist Professor Kevin Anderson.
Project in development
1. Invisible Heat - on the health affects of Climate Change
The first Invisible Heat artwork by Adam Chodzko, an audio work on flooding, Rising, took place at the British Science Festival in September 2013. Ellie Harrison’s ‘Anti Capitalist Aerobics’ performance took place at ‘Ways of Seeing Climate Change’ in Manchester in October. Future artworks are being created by artists Semiconductor, Gordon Cheung, Kasia Molga, Natalie Jeremijenko and Gyorgyi Galik who are collaborating with scientists Professor Paul Wilkinson, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Professor Frank Kelly, Environmental Health, King’s College London and Professor Kevin Anderson, Energy and Climate Change, Tyndall and Manchester University. It is supported through research funding by the Wellcome Trust.
Background to Invisible Dust
Alice Sharp has worked as an independent curator of projects with visual artists since 1997. Sharp set up Invisible Dust in 2009 as a collaboration with atmospheric chemist Professor Peter Brimblecombe, whom she met at Tipping Point (meeting of artists and scientists on climate change).
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Previous projects: ‘Invisible Breath’ 2010/12
Our major project to date was a series of art commissions on breathing and air pollution supported by the Wellcome Trust. From 2010-12 three artists Dryden Goodwin, Faisal Abdu’Allah and HeHe produced artworks with scientists exploring air pollution it’s invisiblity and how it affects our breathing.
In 2011 HeHe looked at the affects of burning oil through a performance about the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster which was shown on BBC Look East news. In June 2011 Faisal Abdu’Allah’s ‘Double Pendulum’ premiered next to the London Olympic Stadium, and was covered by both the Guardian and the Huffington Post. In October 2012 Dryden Goodwin’s ‘Breathe’ an animation of 1300 drawings of his five year old son was projected large scale from St Thomas’ Hospital roof opposite the Houses of Parliament.
The artists projects were accompanied by art and science education activities with families, schools and young people around air quality. Our estimated audience for the past year’s projects is 300,000 people directly attending and 3 million on line through press coverage. See Breathe
- Invisible Dust was a finalist in the 2013 Sustain’ magazine awards in the Communications category. The sustain’ Magazine Awards celebrate standout achievements and successes in the field of Sustainability and other nominations include Land Securities and J. Sainsbury.
- In March 2012 Invisible Dust won the Lord Mayor of London’s UK Sustainable City Award presented for ‘outstanding contributions to enhancing air quality’ for its work in 2011.
- Invisible Dust was one of two organisations in the UK to be awarded a £120,000 from the Large Arts Award by the Wellcome Trust for the ‘Invisible Breath’ project 2010/12.
- Invisible Dust won a ‘Norwich eco award’ from Norwich City Council for artworks and outreach at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival in 2011.
The mission of Invisible Dust is to encourage awareness of, and meaningful responses to, climate change, air pollution and related health, technological and environmental issues. It achieves this by facilitating a dialogue between visual artists, creative technologists and leading world scientists. Invisible Dust strives, through its creation of high impact and unique arts programmes, alongside developments in new technology and scientific theories, to create an accessible, imaginative and approachable forum and stimulus.
As well as supporting the creation of new scientific ideas, developing the relationships between creative technologists and artists and engaging audiences with large scale events, education and community activities, Invisible Dust’s works seek to raise awareness of the key climate change imperatives and objectives now being tackled by National and International Governments, Policy Makers, Charities, NGO’s, Global Corporations, Investors and Consumer groups.
Visibility plays a key role in trying to gain an understanding of the need to live sustainably and dramatically reduce climate change. Artists have many ways of making things visible and, particularly since the Land Art movement in the 1960s and 1970s (such as the ephemeral works of Richard Long and Robert Smithson) have responded to changes in the natural environment in a variety of forms.
ICT technologies are increasingly important in promoting low-carbon economic growth. Invisible Dust is developing cross platform commissions to explore what is seen as ‘art,’ and explore the boundaries of art practice and new media. Artists are increasingly exploiting data hacking and real time sensors. ICT has an enormous role to play in assisting how scientists research and monitor our environment and advances of technology such as smart buildings offer new sustainable ways of living.
Joseph Amato writes about ‘the visible world of dust.’ Amato contests that this informs our ‘perceptions of reality’. The invention of cleaning equipment and the modern day obsession with removing it has changed how we live our lives. Once dust was the smallest thing the eye could see, now our relationship with dust has dramatically changed due to powerful microscopic devices. For scientists, society’s transformation took place in the laboratory through the viewing of atoms, molecules, cells, and microbes; this also defined dust and the physical world for the first time but also our view of the human body and mind.
After the congestion charge was first implemented in central London the air became cleaner than before the charge had been implemented but no one could see the evidence, it had to be revealed by subtle statistical analysis. On a global scale the ice caps are melting, coral reefs and rain forests are being destroyed. In order for us to understand the consequences of our actions on the environment as human beings we need to ‘see’ the results.
In his research, Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry and senior editor of Atmospheric Environment, Peter Brimblecombe from the University of East Anglia has discovered that children’s playgrounds are more polluted than the surrounding area due to the exhaust fumes from the parents’ cars at the school drop off. In addition, Professor Frank Kelly is conducting research into how air pollution effects not only our lungs, but is a cause of heart disease due to small diesel particles passing into the blood.
How can people understand their own effect on the environment when the resulting gases disappear into the sky? Since the industrial revolution there have been huge gains to society but also the creation of many of the gases that are now poisoning the earth. Invisible Dust brings together artists, technologists and scientists to help illuminate these consequences and bring a sense of something human and fantastical to very invisible problems.