Friday, December 9, 2016


            The air of China fills with particle pollution and Benedikt Partenheimer’s series Particular Matter comments on this issue. Further, Partenheimer studies the human condition as it pertains to the environment. Thus, he discovers how humans view and treat the world. In this particular series there is an absence of light due to the air pollution. There is a reference to painting with the technique of sfumato, which blends shades together, creating soft lines. Partenheimer seeks out this issue that is one of the biggest environmental subjects. Initially the image Huangpu River/AQI 440 has a beautiful and peaceful ambience but then curiosity of the title arises. Investigation and realization of what AQI means, air quality index, and the severity of this problem to the population is evident, thus changing the meaning and feeling of this series. While Huangpu River/AQI 440 appears more of a fog landscape, Shijiazhuang 2014/AQI 360 represents a clear picture on the severity of the issue on the cityscape in which only outlines of buildings are accessible. With Chimneys/AQI 340, only two similar shapes are detectable at the bottom of the image. Air quality indexes over 300 are hazardous not only the environment but especially to the population’s health and life expectancy. Partenheimer’s website illustrates the critical aspect of air quality indexes between 301 and 500, “serious aggravation of heart of lung disease and premature mortality in persons with cardiopulmonary disease and the elderly; serious risk of respiratory effects in general population”. The purpose of this series mimics deception just as the Chinese government deceives the Chinese population on the extremity of the air, but also to, in the end expose the reality.


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