Air Project


by Attila Bujdosó, Melinda Sipos, Zoltán Csík-Kovács, Jop Japenga

Let’s imagine a future in which fresh air has become an extremely rare and valuable commodity. As an effect of overpopulation and the resulting economical and political developments, human exhalations are now carefully collected and categorised into different purity classes. Higher social classes have priority access to quality air, only the rich can afford this luxury. Members of the lower social classes can only access second-lung air, exhaled by the rich. These leftovers not only contain less oxygen but also come with the risk of contagious disease. Risks the wealthy no longer dare to take.

Air project is a speculative art installation related to such a scenario. It takes air as a metaphor for access to resources and reflects on a future in which fresh air has become extremely rare and valuable.

Visitors receive a mask that they have to wear throughout their stay in the exhibition space. This mouthpiece allows them to breathe normally while their exhaled air is collected in a plastic air container. The container is sealed and stored hereinafter in the exhibition space where each container carries the exhalations of one specific, previous visitor. The quantity and volume of the used air becomes instantly visible.

Their exhalations are used both as an abstract analogy and a realistic precedent, embodying resources. The collection of second-lung air creates a “lung-print” of the visits. It is a real time data embodiment that represents the interaction between human and environment as well as the collective use of resources.

The project addresses issues of ownership and access to the most basic of human needs in relation to our co-existence and puts visitors in a position in which they reflect upon these from a surprisingly intimate experience.