Particulate Matters

Particulate Matters was an artistic research project, designed by Rebecca Chesney, to explore air quality in relation to daily routines and how it affects human health and the environment.

This project has been included in Found Cities, Lost Objects curated by Lubaina Himid CBE at Leeds Art Gallery.

What would happen if we could suddenly see the air we breathe? How would we choose to travel, plan our cities and conduct our daily lives if pollution from traffic and industry was visible in our skies? How would we respond if we could see the effects of particulate matter on our hair, skin, lungs, heart and circulatory system? Would we choose to maintain the status quo or radically alter our habits?

During the project, Rebecca looked at air quality and pollution in relation to our daily routines, how it affects our health, the environment and how we engage with this invisible problem. Using a monitor devised by Dr Stefan Reis at the Centre for Ecology and Hydology in Edinburgh and Dr DK Arvind, University of Edinburgh to measure and record levels of fine particulate matter, she conducted walks in Preston (February 2016), Glasgow (April 2016) and London (May 2016). Volunteers helped to gather the data by recommending routes and accompanying her on the walks.

In response to conversations with the project volunteers, which revealed the desire of many people to change the way they travel, Rebecca designed a proposal for the ‘Preston Bubble Bus’. Running 7 days a week from 6am until midnight and costing only 50p for a single fare the Bubble would provide a regular and affordable way to travel short distances in Preston. Using renewable energy supplied from a bank of solar panels installed on the roof of Preston Bus Station the buses also provide a cleaner more sustainable way to navigate the city.

The plan would be for a small fleet of 100% electric, zero emissions shopper buses to run on three routes around the city centre:

Route 1 = University Circular
Route 2 = Rail Station – Hospital Line
Route 3 = Deepdale Circular

Artists: Rebecca Chesney
Location: Preston City Centre, London, Glasgow
Years: 2015-17
Partners: Dr Carly Stevens (Lancaster Environment Centre), Dr Stefan Reis (CEH), Dr DK Arvind (University of Edinburgh), Diana Silva (King’s College London), Dr Mark Lochrie (UCLan), Dr Matthew Loxham (University of Southampton), Professor Frank Kelly (King’s College London), Chris Hodson and Jose Pinon Shaw (Preston City Council) and Mic Starbuck (environmental activist in Glasgow)
Funders: Arts Council of England
Preston Bubble Bus

In Certain Places

VB005A, Victoria Building
University of Central Lancashire
Preston, PR1 2HE