“the air we breathe” (2022/2023) is an expanded, experimental documentary that thinks through the complexities of air pollution by weaving together themes of environmental catastrophe, environmental racism, cultural and political shifts, and conspiracy.

Combining research about Edmonton’s air quality, along with personal storytelling and speculative imaginings, this project deeply considers the complicated ways in which our air impacts us: from the way that smells travel through it and the memories they evoke; to the physical impacts of pollutants through shared inhalation; to the ways in which the air serves as a metaphor of connection in a cultural sense. Exploring the systemically racist decisions that result in unequally distributed impacts of air pollutants across geographies, this work considers the act of breathing as one of both political and social potential.

In addition to the gallery work, “the air we breathe” also includes a participatory element. With a focus now in and around Calgary, this version of the participatory project will take place across October 2023. Through both the mail and online, this collective endeavour will spend time thinking about the ways that smell and memory intertwine across issues of air pollution and social/cultural shifts.

With thanks to the Edmonton Arts Council for supporting this project!

Chapters (fall 2023):

Week one
(October 6 – 13)

Week two
(October 13 – 20)

Week three
(October 20 – 27)

Week four
(October 27 – November 3)