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Friday, 04 March 2016 13:01

Art on Liverpool building will detect pollution with lichens for car-free message

A large art installation on the side of a building in Liverpool's Baltic Triangle district between the Anglican Cathedral and the South End Docks has incorporated moss, lichens and copper to change with the seasons, reflect air pollution and promote a positive message about ways we can improve air quality.

liverpool air quality art1Artist Charlotte Weatherstone revealed 'Iris' her 'living wall' installation as part of VENT! Liverpool Air Quality Festival.

Charlotte, an artist, designer and illustrator, is one of five artists commissioned by festival organisers Engage Liverpool CIC to deliver new cultural products or public art works that engage with the public about air quality. Each new work responds to the issue, its causes, the impact of long-term exposure to microscopic man-made pollution and the solutions that are in our hands.

Charlotte said "The union of nature and art was the inspiration behind the design. I wanted to create a positive piece of art that would change with the seasons and be an actual living installation.

"The piece is made of various materials wood, moss and copper, which will react with atmosphere and change colour and texture over the years. There are bird boxes, which I hope will soon hear the flutter of tiny wings and a pot of seasonal daffodils. The message is to walk, cycle and have car free days in an effort to make your small contribution to lessening the amount of pollutants into the air around us."

liverpoolkair quality art middleThe artwork, also incorporates special moss and lichens, which are ideal for monitoring trends in the deposition of pollutants over time, as they are sensitive to increased levels of nitrogen and will notably deteriorate if air quality is poor.

Each VENT! Artist was paired with a scientist or academic expert to produce their piece. Charlotte worked with Frances Stoakley from The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh whose role was to advise on the ecology, collection, collection ethics, storage and growth needs of lichen and moss.

Frances said: "My work focuses on raising public awareness of the link between biodiversity and environmental and human health using engagement activities exploring lichens to bridge this gap. Air pollution is one of the world's biggest environmental health issues, therefore it is vital that we engage the public with the damaging issues of invisible air pollution and aim to bring about positive behavior change for improved air quality."

LINKS
VENT! Liverpool Air Quality Festival
Frances Stoakley's blog on Edinburgh Living Landscape