“That fusion of art, that fusion of expression and science, when it happens, I think new magic appears.”—Anirudh Sharma

Most of us don’t look at the exhaust coming out of a tailpipe and think, “What can I turn that into?” Pollution is hardly ever the catalyst for possibility, and certainly never for creativity. Right?

Not in the case of Air-Ink.

Image: Artist completing a mural in NYC of a skyline and the text "This art is painted with air pollution"

Source: Courtsey of AIR-INK and Graviky Labs

Air pollution is responsible for 1 in 9 deaths around the world. 1 It is a growing problem, particularly in cities that are rapidly industrializing. So, what can we do to reduce the amount of particulate matter that reaches our lungs?

Why not turn it into a medium that can help raise awareness, and give voice to the problem at hand?

Ink has been a central part of storytelling and art for thousands of years; we write with it, we make art with it, and now we’re combating pollution with it. The brilliant innovators at Graviky Labs have found a way to not only capture ultra-fine carbon emissions but turn that carbon into ink!

Check out how this MIT spin-off is changing the world in their own way with this gorgeous piece from Campaigns of the World.

Letting Pollution Tell Its Own Story

Turning pollution into ink before it reaches our lungs may seem like a drop in the bucket when it comes to improving air quality. Air-Ink has a greater power though; turning a once harmful material into something that can be used to educate people and get them onboard with reducing carbon emissions and pollution.

Suddenly something harmful is not only a tool for creativity but a way to spread a wider message.

To stay up to date with Air-Ink’s work, make sure to follow them on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!

Brilliant collaborations between tech, art, and science propel us forward. They help us look at the challenges we face from new angles. If Air-Ink has piqued your interest, I suggest you check out an article we wrote about another great collaboration! The Toxic Art project is addressing the problems of water pollution, and creating beautiful paints from the runoff they collect!

9 minutes

Turning Pollution into Paint: A Kickstarter Success Story!

Here's an update on a project we featured two years ago when it was still a primordial concept. Now it's an inspirational story with all the elements of the best kind of progress!

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We live in an incredible age where disciplines are merging and innovations are happening out of creative collaboration! More voices are being heard, more problems solved, and a brighter future is being forged for us all.

Speaking of, the video for this article came from a suggestion from some very special members of the Ever Widening Circles community; our EWCed Class students at Bellcate School!

These phenomenal students are helping us develop the educational initiative of Ever Widening Circles; giving us feedback and helping us do our best to create something that can work to inspire young people around the globe to become thought leaders and innovators.

Thanks, guys! You are the best.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

-Liesl

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Notes:

  1. Environmental Defense Fund. “Health Impacts of Air Pollution.” Environmental Defense Fund, www.edf.org/health/health-impacts-air-pollution. Accessed 6 Dec. 2018.
  2. Air Ink – The World’s First Ink Made out of Air Pollution.” YouTube, Campaigns of the World, 7 Dec. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=evQ8_x0GP1k. Accessed 5 Dec. 2018.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

COO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Liesl is a camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often floundering—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV