Media: interactive photographic installation
Two works use air as a medium to address the complex social and ecological challenges of our time at the global and the personal scale.
Every atom of the air we inhale has been part of the life cycle of another organism, the natural processes of the Earth’s systems, and the man-made processes of our economic systems. With the origins of our contemporary crises lying in the relationship between these global systems of nature, humanity and economics, Life Support System presents a model for visualising them at a human scale. Two vessels, symbolising nature and humanity, inflate and deflate with rhythms suggesting breathing and the cycles of nature. They are enclosed within another sphere that symbolises the economy and is inflated to a pressure governed by live share market data. The operating parameters and flow within the model are displayed on a screen mimicking a medical vital signs monitor.
At another extreme Catch Your Breath contemplates the intimacy of our breath, making this visible through the action of blowing a bubble in a tank of water and freezing it with high-speed flash photography. The resulting image promotes an understanding of the unique beauty of our own breath. Measuring the shape of our breath — ‘profiling’ in the language of forensics and marketing — allows us to compare it with those of others and to perhaps better appreciate our collective breath.
Andrew Styan is an emerging new media artist interested in developing strategies for shifting public engagement with the challenge of climate change.