Turning pollution into art
A new art project is beautifying city streets with ink made from air pollution
An extension of a 2016 pilot project in Hong Kong, a new initiative sees Tiger Beer, Asia’s premium lager, driving creative collaborations between Anirudh Sharma, inventor of Air-Ink™ and co-founder of Graviky Labs, and emerging artists from across seven cultures to showcase this breakthrough technology to the world.
Believing that the best ideas are often born on the streets and not in corporate boardrooms, Tiger is kicking off its global Air-Ink™ initiative on the streets of London before continuing on to Berlin, New York and Singapore.
Since its launch in 2016, the initiative has seen over 770 litres of Air-Ink™ harvested – the carbon emissions equivalent of continuously driving a typical diesel vehicle for 2.3 years. It also has the potential to be scaled up, for example if the devices were fitted to all London diesel black cabs it could save 10-15% of particulate emissions.
Demonstrating the power of creativity with purpose, 19 international artists will join this year’s global movement to transform the collected pollution into beautiful Air-Ink™ artworks symbolising a bright future for our cities’ streets, and inspiring others to take action.
“Growing up in India and experiencing the effects of air pollution first-hand motivated me to think of ways to turn this harmful pollution into something useful — purified, safe ink. After initial research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, we spent a lot of time perfecting the technology and our ink at Graviky. Now, seeing artworks created with Air-Ink™ and displayed in major cities of the world is truly an exciting step for me and my team,” said Air-Ink inventor Anirudh Sharma. “A beautiful fusion between technology, science, and art, this collaborative initiative with Tiger has taken our technology further than I could have imagined.”
Graviky’s hope is that this demonstration will inspire a city or municipality to conduct their own pilot program together in the near future.
“Tiger Beer believes in supporting people across cultures with brave ideas, and partnering with them to uncage the tiger spirit within us all to create awareness and positive change for issues affecting our communities,” said Mie-Leng Wong, Global Director at Tiger Beer, HEINEKEN Asia Pacific.
“Following the encouraging response to our Air-Ink™ pilot in Hong Kong, we wanted to further our support of Anirudh and Graviky’s mission against the worldwide issue of air pollution and showcase how street creativity can make a difference. By bringing artists and inventor together, we turned the world into a canvas for Anirudh’s message in a beautiful and transformative way, one we hope will inspire people and community leaders to get behind the cause and benefit from the technology.”
Participating artist Kristopher Ho, who is creating an Air-Ink™ artwork for London, says, “Being able to draw with what’s essentially purified soot has been a fascinating experience and a great way to bring attention to the massive issue of air pollution. It has been really meaningful to work with Anirudh and Tiger Beer and be a part of this creative global community, which I see as a perfect fusion of art and science. It just goes to show the extent we can all go to make a positive impact on our surroundings.”