Eco-artists bring emission damage down to earth as Plane Jam navigates city of Norwich

By Richard Hook | 26 April 2011
  • Archived article
A photo of an airborne model airliner with yellow smoke trailing from it
© HeHe 2011
Installation: Plane Jam, various venues, Norwich, May 6-21 2011

As part of this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival, this installation by award-winning eco-artists HeHe – Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen – will send a series of miniature Airbus 380 planes through the busiest pedestrian areas of the city, travelling at eye-line every day between 11am and 5pm.

The models will also release controlled bursts of non-toxic gas to represent the dangerous, unseen emissions released into the atmosphere by full-sized planes.

Evans and Hansen began thinking about the concept during a residency at the Environmental Sciences Department of the University of East Anglia, where they engaged in chinwags with atmospheric chemists.

“They led us to think about the curious visual paradox of air traffic pollution,” says Evans.

“When planes fly high in the atmosphere the clean component of their emissions are visible as the water vapour condenses, but their dirty emissions remain invisible and imperceptible.”

By making the problem more explicitly down-to-earth, they hope to change the everyday perception of low-cost air travel.

A major problem during the recent Fukushima nuclear disaster was invisible radiation leaks which placed residents in unknown danger. Highlighting these issues is a key part of HeHe’s rationale.
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