While Asia’s severe air pollution is bad for the lungs, it might just be good for the brain. Inspired by all the smog, researcher Anjirudh Sharma from Graviky Labs set out to turn air pollutants into something useful — paint and ink.
In this effort, India-based Gravicky Labs partnered with Tiger Beer to produce Air-Ink, a series of markers, paint and spray paint. The black pigment in the paint was actually collected from car exhaust, using hardware that captures the pollutant particles while still allowing the car to function normally. Instead of ending up in our lungs, the particles were purified and processed into ink and paint.
“I thought, artists create their work through smudging, marks, ink and paint. How do we tackle this air pollution problem creatively, like an artist would? What if we used art as a way to repurpose this carbon soot?” CNN quotes Sharma, who initiated the project at the MIT Media Lab in Boston.
“An average 2MM marker contains pollutants from a diesel car driving for 30 to 50 minutes,” the brand says. Though Air-Ink’s current impact on air quality is very small, Graviky Labs is looking to expand their production, hoping to repurpose more harmful particles.
After launching, Tiger sent a group of artists with Air-Ink to the streets of Hong Kong. Cath Love, a participating artist, described the project as “a positive approach to creating sustainable art.”
Take a look:
In 2012, Sharma was chosen as one of “35 Innovators under 35” by the MIT Technology Review for a previous invention, a “haptic shoe for the visually impaired.”
Watch the artists at work below:
The featured artists aren’t the only ones trying to make art out of pollution. Last year, a Beijing artist used a vacuum to suck up the city’s noxious smog for 100 days and turn all that gunk into a brick.
By Amy Yang
[Images via Graviky / Air-Ink]