Data Visualization Spotlight: In The Air
Carbon monoxide, spraying façades, and the art of seeing the invisible.
By Maria Popova
What an odd beast the air is — it slides below our sensory awareness, yet it’s the source of all life. But what if you could “see” the air and how it interacts with the rest of our environment?
That’s what In The Air, a fascinating visualization project, aims to answer by making visible the microscopic and invisible agents of Madrid’s air — gases, particles, pollen, disease carriers — and exploring how they interact with each other and the rest of the city.
The project includes a spectacular digital tool, which lets you play with and data-cross the various elements of the air in a way that makes behavioral patterns emerge.
The resulting data get fed into a physical prototype called a diffuse façade — an installation of colored water vapor diffusers informing passersby of real-time air contaminant levels. It doubles as a microclimate management tool, lowering the temperature in the summer and humidifying the air in the winter.
Published August 13, 2009