Most statement necklaces are just about standing out and looking great, but these dramatic necklaces are actually making a statement about air quality and pollution in the UK. London-based artists Stefanie Posavec and Miriam Quick utilized air quality data from a three week period in Sheffield, UK and then interpreted those levels as a beaded necklace, called Touching Air. The bigger the bead, the more air pollution. The wearer can feel how bad it was and viewers get an intense visual of the air quality data as a wearable infographic.
Commissioned by Better With Data, the Sheffield wing of the Open Data Institute, as part of their AirQuality+ project, Posavec and Quick utilized air quality data to visualize how bad the pollution was. The open data was collected from three air quality sensors around Sheffield and provided by Sheffield City Council. Low levels of large particulate PM10 are visualized as small, light green disks. As PM10 levels increase they change color from green to blue to red and change shape and size to large, sharp, pointy disks. The London designers made three tactile Touching Air necklaces, with each one representing a different week of data as a way to feel how bad the air quality was.
The duo also made a three pairs of glasses, called Seeing Air, which let the wearer see how bad the air quality was. Data for large particulate, small particulate, and Nitrogen Dioxide were etched onto three different lenses then put together into a pair of glasses. The wearer then sees a layered buildup of pollution, which is hazy and hard to see through, as pollution is in the air. The three pairs of glasses represent extremes of the air quality range for the city: a day with high NO2, a day with high particulates and a day of relatively clean air. Both Touching Air and Seeing Air were presented at the AirQuality+ launch event in Sheffield in January 2015. Miriam Quick did all the research and data analysis, while Stefanie Posavec designed the pieces.