AER (2008) Greenmuseum US

Undercurrent (Pell, 2004); Interdepend (Pell & Coutts, 2005)

AER – The Vehicle of the Soul. Online exhibition curated by Andrea Polli

Amy Balkin, Preemptive Media, Eve Andrée Laramée, Kim Abeles, Sabrina Raaf, Sarah Jane Pell, HeHe – Pollstream, Jed Berk, Ben Engebreth, Platform London, Superflex

Ecomediated artworks related to experiencing and monitoring environments

Australian performance artist Sarah Jane Pell’s works highlight the body’s transfer of air and our dependence on air as living, breathing beings. They explore the physical and emotional limits of the body. Interdepend creates a closed-circuit life support system between Pell and artist Martyn Coutts, and Undercurrent presents a single performer contained within a sealed transparent dome with a finite amount of breathable air. These works are extremely physically demanding for the performer and have an overwhelming emotional intensity.In Fumifugium, Evelyn refers to the air as the soul or spirit of man, and Pell’s works seem to give that soul or spirit a physical manifestation. This can be witnessed either through human interdependence or through a single womb-like containment that without breathable air would become a tomb. Like Raaf’s work, Pell’s works seem to hold a vision of the future. For example, in Translator II: Grower, Raaf presents a robot that methodically records the human imprint on air. This rover, which can continue to perform its duties even when the air becomes toxic to humans, questions our future on the planet if we continue to poison the air. In Pell’s case, this vision is apocalyptic, one in which the very air we breathe is a limited commodity. In the future, will the earth’s fragile atmosphere continue to sustain us, or will we be forced to remain contained in controlled environments while our machines roam freely, reporting to us the world outside? By suggesting an alternative future of limited air, these works by Raaf and Pell created a pathway that forced audiences to consider the important reciprocal relationship between humans and the earth’s atmosphere.- Andrea Polli,

UnderCurrent Sarah Jane Pell 2004 UK Interdepend Sarah Jane Pell and Martyn Coutts 2005 AU. Interdepend Sarah Jane Pell and Martyn Coutts 2005 2.

UnderCurrent, 2004 (Sarah Jane Pell) & Interdepend, 2005 (Pell & Coutts): Exploring the politics of sharing air. AER curated by Andrea Polli, GreenMuseum 2008.

The artists featured in this Aer project look critically at the issue of air quality and use various methods to raise awareness of the issue among the public. Because air is invisible, artists are faced with the challenge of making the intangible real. Because air pollution is a silent killer, artists are challenged to give a voice to the body’s dependence on clean air. Most of the featured projects blur the line between art and activism, and all the artists are changing public understanding of the air around us, questioning accepted norms of ownership of and responsibility to the air we must breathe to live.

AER Exhibition Website Screenshot

AER Exhibition Website Screenshot || 2008-2012. Curated by Andrea Pollli. See

⇐ See UnderCurrent, 2003 ⇐ See Interdepend, 2005 ⇐ Return to Performances