Night Air is a series of online transmissions and offline events that aims to make pollution visible by bringing forth the various side-effects of modernity: from colonial exploitation of people and resources to perpetual inequalities brought about by the destruction of the environment and common land – in other words, destructive capitalist practices that shape both our environment and human-nonhuman relations. The term ‘night air’ derives from a myth originating in the miasma theory (Greek for ‘pollution’) that smelly air from decaying organic matter caused illness. Such smells would intensify and worsen by night, rendering ‘night air’ synonymous with poisonous and noxious vapours. Part of Re-Imagine Europe, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
The Smog Event
Aired on 27 March, The Smog Event brought together artists, theorists and film in an online programme about smog. The first event of the series included presentations by artist Amy Balkin and anthropologist Timothy K. Choy. These took place alongside a weekend-long screening of the 2019 documentary film Smog Town by Chinese filmmaker Meng Han. The programme was moderated by Harshavardhan Bhat. The evening was closed with a DJ set by Snufkin.
Soil Samples was the second edition of the Night Air series, and included artistic and discursive contributions by Dorsey Kaufmann, Felicity Mangan, Kunal Palawat, Martin Howse and Red Brut, alongside weekend-long screenings of the films Mined Soil (2014) by Filipa César and You Think The Earth Is a Dead Thing (2019) by Florence Lazar. Dedicated to soil pollution, this evening focused on the multifaceted nature of this vital resource beneath our feet.
This event was moderated by Kyveli Mavrokordopoulou, with contributions by Agnès Villette and Jason Waite and a thematic soundtrack to close the evening by artist duo Whitespace. The films Crossroads (1976) by Bruce Conner, Uranium Hex (1987) by Sandra Lahire and We Have Always Known the Wind’s Direction (2019) by Inas Halabi were screened during this event.