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Often people ask how birds are affected by the air / 风起惹尘埃

- by Hanna Husberg

At the intersection of philosophy, politics, science and lived experience, ‘Often people ask how birds are affected by the air’ looks at how air, that is unruly when it comes to borders, functions in the human imagination. As it mutates and migrates, is the experience of air translateable, measurable?


Addressing the cultural and political aspects of urban air Husberg’s work builds upon her 3-month residency at IFP last autumn, during which her main practice was to talk and listen to locals, collecting their imaginaries of urban air. Narratives and imaginaries refer to the social domain of seeing, experiencing, thinking, fantasising, discussing and enacting aspect of the material world. Imaginaries are processes of negotiating claims to knowledge and truth. They are transformational, and enable new ways of knowing and acting in the world.


Because of its invisibility air is mostly mediated through scientific instruments and measurements, and through language. In China the introduction of the new concept of ‘wumai’, and the successive datafication of air, as air became “this number PM 2,5”, have produced a different augmented air, affecting ways in which air is experienced.


Drawing on her experience from Beijing, on the interviews and dialogues she had throughout this period, on existing aerial imaginaries and new technoscientific representations, Husberg has conceived an audiovisual installation that engages with the materiality of air. A soundscape that evokes the colours used to indicate the Air Quality Index, and the related presence of solid matter in the air, fills the space using the aerial media it explores. The visual elements of the installation draw forth the materiality of existing aerial imaginaries, but also function as light sources, and as token summoning the translations and variations taking place between spoken versus written language, and between cultures.


On October 29th at 17:00 a panel discussion with invited guests will be held at the IFP. It will address cultural and political aspects of urban air, with a focus on the perceptibility of air and its pollution, on agency and response-ability, and on environmental imaginaries. The panel includes Agata Marzecova, Lulu Li, Veronica Sun, Hanna Sahlberg and Guo Hao.









此外,10月29日(本周日)下午5点,将会在激发研究所办公室展开一场讨论会。艺术家同邀请嘉宾会从文化和政治的角度看待空气问题,强调对空气和污染的感知力,反应力以及环境想象力。该讨论除了Hanna,发言嘉宾还包括Agata Marzecova、Lulu Li、孙玙和郭颢。

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