New exhibition reveals the dynamics of air essential for life

27 August 2018

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.

Media Enquiries

Evelyn Tsitas, RMIT Gallery Senior Advisor, Communications & Outreach +61 3 9925 1716 or +61 488 300 525.

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.