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Brown Series Focuses On Air We Breathe

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This week, Brown University is examining environmental issues related air with a series of events that mix art and science.

This week, Brown University is examining environmental issues related air with a series of events that mix art and science.

The greenhouse atop the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society is usually quiet. But this week, sounds that mimic bird calls fill the space. Artists from Brown’s music department produced these bird calls with a rare, vintage synthesizer.

This sound installation is part of a special series called Atmospheres, exploring air and things that move through it.

“So we're looking at atmosphere both as a victor and an element that is polluted, particularly with climate change and global warming,” said Lenore Manderson, a visitor professor who teaches public health and medical anthropology at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa.

Manderson curated the series, which kicks off this Thursday evening with a keynote talk by Mwangi Githiru, an ornithologist from Kenya. His talk will focus on air pollution and reforestation efforts in Africa.

“He’s an extraordinary person to have,” said Manderson. "And then we have other people from around the world coming, including sound artists and academics who have been working with wind, air pollution, insects, and other things that move in the air and affect health and wellbeing.”

Manderson hopes the program, which is open to the public, will inspire people to think more broadly about the air we breathe and pressing environmental challenges. Take a look at the full agenda here.

Visiting Professor Lenore Manderson stands in a greenhouse where sounds of bird calls fill the air. The calls were produced with a rare, vintage synthesizer. This sound installation is part of a series called Atmospheres, curated by Manderson.
Visiting Professor Lenore Manderson stands in a greenhouse where sounds of bird calls fill the air. The calls were produced with a rare, vintage synthesizer. This sound installation is part of a series called Atmospheres, curated by Manderson.