Invisible Dust

London | Thursday 21 February
Pollution level: Moderate

(TBT3) ‘Kaffe Mathews, Air Pollution & UK Government’s Failings’


** Every other Thursday we will be publishing a ‘Throwback Thursday’ piece; looking back to older projects to see how the work’s environmental messages relate to current news, whether there has been any development on the issues raised and what the artists involved are doing now **

In clean air we fly, Kaffe Matthews, December 2009 image:Christopher Ferstad

This Thursday we’re looking back to the first public Invisible Dust event: Kaffe Mathew’s In Clean Air We Fly‘. It took place at our HQ in Gillette Square in Dalston in collaboration with 40 children from Shackwell and Colveston primary schools in the local area, to create a multilayered audio piece.

The project looked to investigate the air pollution present in the environment Londoners live in. The children working with Kaffe measured air pollution hotspots at both street and ‘sky’ levels to create a data map which was used as a musical score built from street noises and instruments played and recorded by the children. The installation was made possible by an 8-channel audio system made by ‘creative ecologists’ Magnificent Revolutions and powered by over 600 cyclists over the course of the day.

Photograph: Ben Fathers/AFP/Getty Images

Invisible Dust have been involved in several projects concerning air pollution over the years; it is an environmental and social issue that continues to dog this country. Two weeks ago we looked back to Dryden Goodwin’s ‘Breathe’, considering the continuing issue of air pollution and the failings of the UK Govt. As recently as yesterday (at the time of writing) environmental NGOs Client Earth have been successful in their court case against the UK Govt. in their failure to tackle air pollution in the manner stipulated by law. It’s the second time in 18 months the UK Govt. has lost a case concerning air pollution, air pollution and environmental issues have been given mostly lip-service. The Conservative Party, by returning power‘ to local governments & councils, have transferred responsibility for green initiatives within things such as the transport sector to local councils. National issues should be dealt with on a national level, rather than shifted to smaller less funded local councils who are more likely to not prioritise environmental issues on a local level. 

For more information on Client Earth’s case:

Client Earth

The Guardian

Kaffe is currently based in Berlin where she became the first woman to win the Edgar Varèse Guest Professorship. She has been developing new projects, such as bicrophonics & the Sensory Bike, continuing the theme of bicycles and sound. All info can be found on her website!


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