Particle Falls, by Andrea Polli and Chuck Varga




Artists: Andrea Polli and Chuck Varga

Title:  Particle Falls

Year created: 2010

Location: San Fernando Corridor, California, USA

Materials: Laser and air pollution monitoring information.

What is the piece’s impact?  It makes the invisible (particulate matter), visible to the greater public. People could use this information to adjust their behavior accordingly (e.g. staying indoors, avoiding exercise outside… carpooling).

Particulate pollution can be measured by laser light scattering, and Particle Falls provides a real time visualization of particulate pollution in the San Fernando Corridor using the latest laser projection technology thereby communicating the air quality in an air prone to quite poor air quality.”  (source)

How does this project relate to this change as art? Considering the phrase “out of sight, out of mind,” this piece provides people with real time information that is available, but not very accessible to the public. This makes visible the invisible threat of particulate matter that is killing many Californians every year.

What makes this an artistic project? It was a piece was made by a pair of contemporary artist in partnership with the San Jose Public Art Program. Moreover, the piece doesn’t offer blunt, raw data, but rather an artistic representation of data.

Notes: For more details on the project visit: 

You may also want to view for an on-line real-time visualization of San Jose’s air quality.

Particle Falls from Andrea Polli on Vimeo.

Leave a Reply