Space to Breathe Weekend

Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January 2017

River Rooms, New Wing - Somerset House, London
Free, drop-in

Creative action in response to our city’s air pollution crisis

Our lungs breathe in and out 23,000 times a day, and each one of us needs just eight Sycamore trees’ worth of oxygen each year. But if a city has demonstrated an inability to provide clean air for its citizens, it is London.

Join us for a weekend of installations, performances, talks and workshops highlighting the impact of air pollution on our health. What collective action can we take to make our cities less congested, cleaner and more energy efficient?

The local area around Somerset House is regularly above legally recognised health limits for air pollution. We will redesign our city’s environment, demonstrating that it can be a Utopian space, and discuss the ambitious and innovative plans already being implemented across the globe to alleviate the drivers and negative effects of air pollution on our health.

Breathing Mephitic Air

Drop in and experience a new sound commission by Wesley Goatley inspired by the pioneering work of The Environmental Research Group at King’s College London, who are a leading provider of air quality information and research in the UK.

Energy Renaissance

Test out this virtual reality dreamscape in which a young girl ignites environmental change around the Strand and Aldwych in one of the most polluted corners of London.


David Farnham will present his award-winning works, three 3D printed lungs and ribs of Caroline - a lady who has recovered from Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The works highlight the fragility of the body, and our capacity to fight pollution with our own physiological technology.

Voyage on the Planet

Chih Chiu will take to the streets of London with a number of people wearing his art work, positioning themselves in some of the city’s most polluted of spaces, challenging onlookers to think about what is in the air they are breathing.

Solar Sound System

Coming to join us via Paris, Tokyo and Brazil and COP22 in Marrakech, Solar Sound System demonstrates through the power of disco that everyone can rise to the challenge to demonstrate the power of renewables. Come and join in to keep the party going!

Breath Control

Caroline Wright will collect a single vocalised note from passersby, investigating the inhalations and exhalations that form the melody, rhythm and punctuation of our everyday existence.

Rhizome 2.0

Put on a headset and set foot into a virtual forest with Emily Godden & Audit Chaos. The artist will discuss to what extent our reality is blended between the actual and virtual as we recycle digital and physical elements into a hyperreal landscapes saturated by information.

King’s College London Environmental Research Group

Take part a series of workshops with the Environmental Research Group to find out your lung capacity, and how to avoid the polluting hotspots of London. Learn more about the research leading the charge against the air pollution crisis in London, and find out what you can do to be a part of the change.
London Environmental Research Group website

Project Team

Curated by Cape Farewell and Shrinking Space, in partnership with King’s College London’s Environmental Research Group.

Supported by: Arts Council England, The Physiological Society, King’s College London Environmental Research Group; Somerset House; King's College London Cultural Programming.

Part of Utopia 2016: A Year of Imagination and Possibility


Partners and supporters