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In the Air

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  • Exhibition
Colour photograph of three people watching a very large, curved screen. The young man on the left is standing up with his hands behind his back. The young man in the middle is in a wheelchair, to the right of a girl who is sat on a chair. On the screen is a scene showing blue sky and white clouds.
In the Air exhibition. Cloud Studies, digital film with audio. 2021, Gallery Photo: Steven Pocock. © Forensic Architecture.

A bracing, uplifting and potentially reinvigorating exploration of the surprisingly long history of fighting for breath

The Guardian

In the Air explores our relationship with the air around us. Moving freely across borders and through bodies, air is both vital to our existence and a threat to our health. 

The exhibition explores the relationship between the air and earth, from 3.5-billion-year-old fossilised bacteria that first introduced oxygen into the atmosphere to delicate porcelain sculptures of the glaciers that provide a record of the air and our impact on it. It charts the history of activism against pollution from 17th-century accounts of coal smoke in London to contemporary protests against levels of toxic air that disproportionately impact communities of colour in our cities. Immersive and imaginative film installations introduce us to magnified versions of the particles that occupy our air; reveal the ways that air is weaponised across the world – but also reconnect us to the healing properties of fresh air.

The air we share is investigated through the work of Tacita Dean, David Rickard, Dryden Goodwin, Forensic Architecture, Choked Up, Anna Atkins, Black and Brown Films, Irene Kopelman, Ernst Haeckel, John Evelyn and Matterlurgy.