New exhibition reveals the dynamics of air essential for life

Malte Wagenfeld, Natasha Johns-Messenger and Leslie Eastman, RMIT Gallery, 2018.

Dynamics of Air, a major new exhibition opening on the 14th September at RMIT Gallery, captures the beauty, dynamics and sensuality of air in our built environment and its critical role in designing for a zero carbon future.

Presented in partnership with the Goethe-Institut, Dynamics of Air explores how 25 leading Australian and international designers, artists and researchers work with the shared and intangible atmospheric medium that is air – the element essential for life.

Curated by Dr Malte Wagenfeld, Senior Lecturer in Industrial Design at RMIT with Professor Jane Burry, Swinburne University, Dynamics of Air features specially commissioned works that will immerse audiences in the reality of climate change and the implications of sharing air in crowded urban environments.

Austrian design firm Breathe Earth Collective will construct a four metre version of a traditional Gradierwerk or salt breathing tower. Saline water falls from the top of the tower over heavily scented melaleuca shrub sourced from the Barkindji Nation in the Mallee region, filling the gallery with invigorating air packed with saline and ethereal oils.

German climate engineer Thomas Auer from Transsolar will team with Wagenfeld to create Outside In, a large immersive work allowing audiences to explore dynamically shifting interior microclimates, offering new strategies for ‘designing with air’ in context of climate change.

Berlin artist Edith Kollath will explore the poetics and reality of sharing the air that we breathe, inviting participants to breathe into specially constructed glass vessels and share each other’s air.

In other highlights, high profile NY based installation artist Natasha Johns-Messenger, an RMIT Alumni, will team with Melbourne artist Leslie Eastman to construct a viewing room that plays with the same optical deceptions as looking into a moving airplane propeller.

“The Goethe-Institut is excited to partner with RMIT Gallery to present an exhibition exploring complex scientific research on air and the challenges faced designing for urban environments,” said Sonja Griegoschewski, Director Goethe-Institut Australia.

“German engineers, architects and artists are well-known for their creative approaches to design problems, and we are delighted to bring four of them to Melbourne for the exhibition public program events.”

Dynamics of Air runs from 14th September to 17th November at RMIT Gallery – 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Story by Evelyn Tsitas

NB: International artists Thomas Auer, Edith Kollath, Friedrich von Borries and the Breathe Earth Collective will be in Melbourne for the exhibition opening and available for interviews, as will local artists.

Banner Image: ‘Breathe. Austria 02’, courtesy of Simon Oberhofer.


Exhibition14 Sep – 17 Nov 2018

Dynamics of Air

How do designers, artists, scientists and researchers work with an intangible atmospheric medium such as air? Explore it, alter it, adjust it,…

Event13 Sep 2018

Dynamics of Air: Exhibition Opening

RMIT Gallery in partnership with the Goethe-Institut presents Dynamics of Air You are invited to the opening of Dynamics of Air at RMIT Gallery on…

Event18 Oct 2018

Drones & Biomimicry: Micro Flight Vehicle performance with Simon Watkins

The invisibility of air means that we often struggle to perceive its magnitude, while birds such as Kestrels can sense flow disturbances…

Event9 Oct 2018

Scientific Photography: Phred Petersen – artist talk

Dive in to the world of scientific photography and the studies of supersonic motion, when artist Phred Petersen walks you through his…

Event25 Oct 2018

White Clouds of Sugar: Performance and artist talk with Mikael Mikael & Friedrich von Borries

Clouds, cotton candy and creativity will all merge during this performance, where German artist Mikael Mikael takes a more playful approach to the phenomenon…

Event14 Sep 2018

Climate & Design: Thomas Auer, Edith Kollath & Malte Wagenfeld public talk

How do you recreate the external environment of a forest or beach inside an art gallery? Curator Malte Wagenfeld will discuss the…

Event1 Nov 2018

Explorations of Air: Curator’s talk with Malte Wagenfeld and Jane Burry

Join Dr Malte Wagenfeld, Senior Lecturer of Industrial Design at RMIT and Professor Jane Burry, Dean of Design at Swinburne University, when…

Event11 Oct 2018

Polar Force: Artist talk with Eugene Ughetti and Philip Samartzis

Join us for an artist talk at RMIT Gallery about Polar Force, a new project by Speak Percussion to be presented by Arts Centre Melbourne…

Event15 Sep 2018

Breathe Earth Collective: Hybrid Forests in built environments

As part of the Dynamics of Air exhibition, the renowned Breathe Earth Collective from Austria are travelling to Melbourne to talk about their work…

Event8 Nov 2018

Wind Generated Drawing Systems: Cameron Robbins Artist Talk

Join internationally recognised artist Cameron Robbins as he talks about his wind drawings created by a wind-powered mechanical instrument that transcribes weather…