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AIR: The Invisible and The Visible


Fri 13 Sep 2019, 5:30pm–7:00pm

Where: AUT Auckland - Sir Paul Reeves Building, 2 Governor Fitzroy Place, CBD, Auckland

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: christinahoughton33

A panel discussion with designer Dr Malte Wagenfeld, RMIT University, artist Dr Layne Waerea (Ngāti Wāhiao, Ngāti Kahungunu) and urban meteorologist Jennifer Salmond, Associate Professor in the School of Environment, University of Auckland. Hosted by Associate Professor Janine Randerson as part of the AUT Laser talks series.

Each speaker will discuss an individual aspect of their research followed by a 40 minute long panel discussion.

Air is invisible, yet we depend on our atmospheric container for life. Scientists, artists, and designers alike wrestle with the issue of representing the atmosphere and the urgent social politics of how we care for our immaterial environment. While philosopher Lucy Irigaray once asked “is air thinkable?”, today we are expanding our means to visually describe the qualities of air through sensors for pollutants and ‘big data’ forms of measurement as well as through aesthetic politics.

The recent commodification of air, as a luxury item, harnesses and challenges notions of consumer law around a growing awareness of principles of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and how we conceive and value the atmosphere in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Urban meteorologist Jennifer Salmond investigates the ways in which air quality data can be collected and presented; from low cost sensors, and ‘big data’. She brings the invisible chemistry of air to our senses in order to design effective mitigation strategies to minimise indoor and outdoor air pollution.

While Malte Wageneld ‘designs the immaterial’ through dynamic microclimates including the installation ‘Outside_In’ undertaken with Transsolar and ‘Aerosol’ by Breathe Earth Collective. These works were part of the recent exhibition ‘Dynamics of Air’ (RMIT Gallery 2018). The ‘Dynamics of Air’ delves into a growing international body of creative and scientific investigation into the dimensional complexity and temporal capriciousness of atmosphere along with the anthropogenic impact on our climate.

Through performance art actions, artist and entrepreneur Waerea, explores the socio-legal and cultural dilemma of harvesting natural resources for commercial gain. Free instructional video: How to catch air, 2015; and Blue Pacific Takeaways, 2018 consider the few legal constraints currently in place and how this vacuum allows for other temporary, legal subjectivities to exist.

Both Waerea’s and Wagenfled’s creative practices reflect a conceptual shift from the material, solid and fixed towards the immaterial, fluid, transient and temporal. Salmond’s approach is also expansive; to ultimately motivate individual and collective behaviour change in the treatment of our atmosphere.

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