Soft Dynamic Membranes: Air filtration as a material,
interdisciplinary, and socio-environmental exchange process

Research Team
Dr. Alice Jarry
Brice Ammar-Khodja
Jean-Michael Celerier
Jacqui Beaumont
Asa Perlman
Philippe Vandal
Ariane Plante

Ville de Montréal, École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs, Paris

Person in black standing underneath a bridge with the Nomad Air Kit, there are concrete pillars repeating on either side of them.  

Nomad Air Kit, 2021.
Solar powered, portable and connected air capturing apparatus.

Photo: Alice Jarry
Fine particles and dust generated by transport, construction or heating have significant ecosystem impacts. For example on lung and heart health, rising temperatures and vegetation growth. These residues operate according to trajectories irreducible to the status of inert matter:  Metabolic exchanges such as respiration underline the porous boundaries between industrial production methods, living things and the environment.

In the current context of ecological crisis, air’s toxicity, a milieu that is felt although invisible, is a growing issue.

This research-creation project examines the material, spatiotemporal and socio- environmental aspects of air pollution.
By creating bio-flexible and dynamic membranes that react with humans and the environment to filter the air, the experimentation and the method of filtration are envisioned as a mode of reflection in action, catalyst of plural social and cultural  realities.

Through workshops and an exhibition, the project seeks to induce new sensory, responsive and critical relationships with  air, and engages with the processual future of neglected materials and peripheral processes to reorient this invisible environment in an ecology of technologies and sustainable practices for communities, matter and the environment. 

Abaca filter filled with urban particles. Photo: Alice Jarry

Abaca filter and 3D scaffold.  Photo: Jacqui Beaumont

Critical Practices in
Materials and Materiality