Every evening from February 28th to March 28th, 2020, see a unique art installation at dusk, on the west wall of the UNC Charlotte Center City building, 320 E. 9th Street.
Particle Falls, by artist Andrea Polli, visually represents local air quality. It’s generated by translating real-time particle pollution data from the air into an animated light display, revealing the presence of an otherwise invisible but dangerous air pollutant. The more particle pollution you are breathing, the more bursts of orange and yellow dots cover the falling blue light.
This installation of Particle Falls celebrates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
From the press release:
The four-week event will raise public awareness of the presence and impact of fine particle pollution in Charlotte communities. Throughout the month of March Clean Air Carolina and its partners will host several evenings of special programming that focus on various aspects of particle pollution and strategies for reducing emissions, including a Bike Night (March 3), a meeting of Charlotte-area Medical Advocates for Healthy Air (March 16), and panel discussions on Sustainable Development (March 13), Active Transportation (March 20), and Environmental Justice (March 27).
Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) is a form of air pollution that occurs year-round and consists of a mixture of very small particles that are invisible to the naked eye. A typical particle can include hazardous heavy metals, air toxics, and various types of carbon which can cause significant inflammation in the human body. These particles are so small that our lungs cannot cough them out, and once in the lungs they can pass through cell membranes, enter the bloodstream, and even cross the blood-brain barrier. Exposure to fine particle pollution has been linked to a long list of serious health problems, including asthma, heart disease, stroke, and premature death.
“Particle pollution is unsafe to breathe at any level. As one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, we all are aware of an increase in traffic and construction, both heavy contributors to particle pollution,” said June Blotnick, Executive Director of Clean Air Carolina.
The largest sources of fine particulate matter in the Charlotte metro area are cars, trucks, diesel buses, industrial factories, and construction equipment. Strategies for reducing local levels of particle pollution include reducing electricity consumption, increasing the use of public transit, bicycles, and electric or hybrid vehicles, and adopting clean construction standards.
Does this sound familiar? Particle Falls was last in Charlotte in 2016. It’s also been displayed in several cities across the U.S. and the world, including Philadelphia, San Jose and Paris.
Particle Falls will be viewable from many remote locatioons in uptown Charlotte, beginning at sunset (approximately 6:30 p.m.) each night. It will be viewable rain or shine.