Pollution Art

Looking at art and creative projects addressing and/or inspired by air pollution, light pollution, littering, noise pollution, soil pollution, radioactive pollution, visual pollution, and water pollution. I picked a couple of projects I naturally stumbled upon and conducted some research to find the others, avoiding “sculptures made from upcycled and/or recycled materials” since those are too common and entry-level for this post.

Air pollution

Smog Brick by Nut Brother


Light pollution

Mutant Weed by Luz Interruptus

Anonymous art group Luz Interruptus showcased light pollution in Madrid with “mutant weeds” – fluorescent sticks placed in the green light glow of pharmacy signs.

via treehugger


Trashconverter Van by Hubbub

Noise pollution

Buitenschot Landscape Art Park, A Soundscape for Schiphol-Hoofddorp by H+N+S Landscape Architects and Paul De Kort

H+N+S Landscape Architects and artist Paul De Kort designed a park to curb noise pollution coming from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

via Works that Work and H+N+S Landscape Architects

Radioactive pollution (+ soil pollution)

The Materiality of a Natural Disaster by Hilda Hellström

“In 2012, Swedish artist Hilda Hellström created dishes made from radioactive soil culled from the evacuation zone of Fukushima, Japan. Hellström stayed with Naoto Matsumura, a rice farmer and the last person living in the zone, for four days and collected soil from the contaminated rice fields. She took the soil back to UK to mold it into dishes to display at the Royal College of Art in London’s graduate show as symbols of memory and devastation. The series of food vessels attempt to speak to the wasted agriculture of the area.”

via Vice Creators

Visual pollution

Way Out West by The Art City Project

“Way Out West revisits the California experience by transforming outdoor advertising into new space for art to live and breathe. The month-long installation — which spans billboards, transit shelters, bus takeovers, and other alternative space throughout San Francisco’s transitional inner Mission neighborhood — features art from contemporary artists with roots in California.”

via Hello Art City

Water pollution

#PollutedWaterPopsicles by Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui, Cheng Yu-ti


Smog Brick by Nut Brother (air pollution)

This was one of the projects I remembered from when it first broke news. Deceptively simple idea that transformed the Beijing air problem into something tangible and even usable.

Mutant Weed by Luz Interruptus (light pollution)

Light pollution goes under the radar since many people are so immersed by it and it’s not as visceral as something like smog yet it poses serious health risks for humans and animals alike. This project calls attention to how antithetical this light is to life by creating these fictional plants “nourished” by this artificial light.

Trashconverter Van by Hubbub (littering)

This is an artistic anti-littering campaign rather than an art project but I think it was a creative way to create positive reinforcement by offering rewards for picking up litter.

Buitenschot Landscape Art Park, A Soundscape for Schiphol-Hoofddorp by H+N+S Landscape Architects and Paul De Kort (noise pollution)

The largest scale and most practical project on here since it actively reduces an instance of noise pollution issue rather than merely bringing attention to it.

The Materiality of a Natural Disaster by Hilda Hellström (radioactive pollution + soil pollution)

Potentially the riskiest form of pollution to work with yet one of the most important forms to address. The article I found this project in also showcases five other projects involving radioactive source material.

Way Out West by The Art City Project (visual pollution)

Much like light pollution, visual pollution seems like a nonfactor for the environment but there are a number of detrimental health effects through exposure to visual pollution. The most surprising to me included decreases in opinion diversity (what?) loss of identity (what!) and loss of feeling of civility. This was an interesting way to change the content of billboards but I’d be interested in seeing something that could remove visual clutter which is difficult to do.

#PollutedWaterPopsicles by Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui, Cheng Yu-ti (water pollution)

Probably my favorite project on the list and one I found recently and inspired this whole post. It’s an amazing way to frame the issue since I can basically taste these popsicles and they are disgusting.

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