In Clean Air We Fly

A sound exhibition fuelled by pedal power aiming to highlight the UK’s problem with air pollution starts at Gillett Square on December 6.

In Clean Air We Fly, devised by artist Kaffe Matthews, is an audio work inviting the audience to reflect on her ‘clean air paths’ playing through the polluted London air. Bicycle powered music will emanate from eight speakers, causing vibrations through the Square, slicing through the air pollution to create paths across the sky.

Kaffe explains: “The work plays with the analogy between sound and invisible airborne pollution. Although we are immersed in both, by its very nature pollution always degrades an environment, but sound has the ability to enhance and transform space.”

The project is commissioned by arts and science organisation Invisible Dust and produced by Hackney Cooperative Developments with support from Hackney Council, the Wellcome Trust and the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Matthews also collaborated with children from Dalston primary schools to explore the possibilities of city transport without pollution and its related health and environmental effects. Together they investigated the local streets, identifying the air pollution hotspots and mapping the results at both street and sky levels to build a musical score from the local airspace. The children recorded neighbourhood street sounds, played instruments and wrote songs.

Cllr Nargis Khan, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Community Services said: “Living in an inner city borough such as ours, it is important we all think about our impact on the local environment. Using art to do this and involving local people is a great way of raising awareness of the important issue of air pollution."

The installation coincides with the United Nations Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change. It will be in Gillett Square from Noon until 9pm on Sunday December 6, before continuing indoors at The Vortex Jazz Club, also in the Square, from December 7 to 11. For more information visit:

Photo caption: One of Kaffe Matthews clean air paths .