Dusts Institute is a collaborative platform that combines a research faculty, art institution and community space.


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Latest projects︎

Dusts Chambers

Instruments for recalibrating our common knowledge about the environment

Project Dusts Chambers attempts to exceed how we perceive, process and understand the reality of human impact upon the environment by looking at one element in the air - airborne dusts. The project investigates particulate matter as an information carrier of our social, cultural and economic cycles settled on a facade of cultural monuments over time. Dusts Chambers reveal the invisible scales of changing environment and make it perceivable by the human body. Thus, physical perception has the potential to act as a catalyst in our rediscovery of the interrelationship between dusts and culture, political choices, environment, individual decisions and our bodies.


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Dusts Scales
Trust in technology and digital data are often the only channels we learn about human contribution to the changing nature. This fact is underlain by the belief that our co-existence with the environment is understood through data and computation technologies. However, architecture can provide tools and instruments to navigate our attention towards context and concepts that recalibrate our common knowledge about the environment. Therefore, the collective scale is about common knowledge, awareness and interactions between the human and non-human world. It is about becoming conscious of how human beings are connected with other non-human beings such as minerals, flora and fauna. The understanding of a collective coexistence must question our sense of what we perceive as real and non-existent.

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“Dusts are solid particles, ranging in size from below 1μm up to at least 100μm, which may be or become airborne, depending on their origin, physical characteristics and ambient conditions.”





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Levels of air pollution in Italy in February 2020 | Number of Coronavirus cases in Italy in March 2020

Dusts as a carrier

A  recent study from The University of Bologne correlates the incidence of cases of viral infection with the concentrations of atmospheric particulate matter (e.g. PM10 and PM2.5). Atmospheric particulate is known to function as a carrier, i.e. as a carrier, for many chemical and biological contaminants, including viruses. Viruses "attack" (with a process of coagulation) to atmospheric particulate matter, consisting of solid and / or liquid particles capable of remain in the atmosphere even for hours, days or weeks, and which can spread and be also transported for long distances. The atmospheric particulate, besides being a carrier, constitutes a substrate that can allow the virus to remain in the air in vital conditions for a certain time, even for hours or days. The rate of virus inactivation in atmospheric particulates depends on the environmental conditions: while an increase in temperatures and solar radiation affects positively on the speed of inactivation of the virus, a high relative humidity can favor a higher spread rate of the virus. scientific research has highlighted some characteristics of the spread of viruses in relation to concentrations of particulates air pollution in a case study of north Italy. 

Levels of air pollution in Provincia Brescia in February 2020, red colour indicates exceeding the daily limits of PM10



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Dust collection device

Dusts Institute initiated a collaborative ambient airborne dusts collection as a participation project engaging the general public - participants of the project are activated with agency of collecting dusts across territory of their co-existence. The aim of the project is to advocate the processes of how humans shape their environment by assimilating new forms of knowledge that could not have been foreseen from the outset. Participation on the project is based on voluntary bases and started at international conference CARE hosted by Vienna University of Technology.
Do you care about the air?

Workshop @ CARE – Cities. Action. Research. Education
22 November 2019, TU Vienna



 

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Dust Atlas
A collection of images documenting the aggregated dusts on facade of buildings. 



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Cross-sectional analysis
Microscopic cross-sectional analysis of settled dust layer on facade of historic monuments was developed with Institute for Natural Sciences and Technology at Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Small samples of polluted facade had been investigated through microscopic analysis where the main goal was to explore the aggregation of pollutants and crystal forming on the surface of selected samples. Samples embeded in resin revealed a layer, several nanometer thick, consisting of century old accumulated pollutants.

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Dusts Sensors

Most of us, as data says, live in cities which suffer from a constant high level of airborne dusts pollution. We do not perceive the 18 kilograms of dusts that every human being, on average, inhales in a lifetime. Therefore we developed devices, that deconstruct air pollution into readable data, information, visualisation that describe dust processes in atmosphere in a precise but not always factual ways. These devices are dust detectors, simple optical sensors counting the number of particles within a certain volume of air.







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Vocabulary of Pollution Events

A collection of extraordinary pollution events emphasize the contemporary context of ordinary, man-made, airborne dusts, distinct from its natural forms. By acknowledging airborne dusts as a particular danger to human health, it encourages us to re-think, re-calibrate and re-explore our contemporary understanding of its relationship to urban planning, landscape, art and architecture

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Collection of Airborne dusts

High tech material with nano-technology fibres from Respilon was used to collect samples of dust. Device was place in breathable level, close to wind corridors in order to ensure air flow through nano fibre fabric. This technique was developed in collaboration with Institute of Chemical Technologies and Analytics Division Environmental and Process Analytics Enviromental Analytics at Vienna University of Technology. These simple devices have been able to collect and archive atmospheric phenomena including Sahara Dust in Vienna or human produced pollution clouds over winter months.

Do you care about the air?

orkshop @ CARE – Cities. Action. Research and Education
22 November 2019, TU Vienna



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Dusts Archive

Changes in the air composition above territories is a spatio-temporal atmopheric phenomena often harmful to the environment and human body. Air pollutants aggregate above densed populated areas as a result of human activity. These anomalies can be observed as a dusts clouds visible from outer space - Dusts Archive tends to store and represent these events as an information worth of our attention.


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