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Autographic Displays of Air Pollution

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The public art projects Staubmarke and Ozone Tattoo are autographic displays that make aspects of air pollution—usually represented in abstract metrics—accessible to sensory experience. In both projects, the respective phenomena are made to reveal themselves in material traces, unmediated by symbolically encoded data.

Focusing on dust and particulate matter, Staubmarke makes urban air pollution visible by introducing a visual system to observe and compare the dust patina across urban surfaces and contrast it with data from a citizen science sensor network.

Ozone Tattoo uses plants as sensors for ground-level ozone pollution. Similar to Staubmarke, a visual reference pattern shows how ozone damage manifests on the leaves of certain indicator plants (tobacco, snap bean), helping to detect ozone episodes through comparison with the untreated leaves.

The projects were shown in the exhibitions Re:constructing evidence and World memory in Boston Cyberarts Gallery as well as in Untold Possibilities at the Last Minute at the Cambridge Council for the Arts. Download the paper presented at IEEE VIS here.