A Green Lung is an installation by Nina Barnett and Jeremy Bolen that filters the air, and serves as a dust collection and archiving instrument. Air is pulled through the structure through filtering material that forms the walls and roof, using a solar energy powered fan. Clean air is then released back into the atmosphere. The Green Lung is located at the Joubert Park Greenhouse Project, in the heart of Johannesburg’s city centre as part of the Response-ability community collaboration.
Airborne particles have an active and varied history in Johannesburg. Dust from mine dumps and coal burning has been present since the early days of the city. As the metropolis has grown, the particles from vehicles, electricity and industry have filled the air. The highveld environment, once grassland, is recognised as an urban forest due to planted trees that cover much of the suburban sprawl of the city. As these trees (both native and exotic) mature, many produce airborne pollen in the spring months. Early spring (due to climate change) has extended and intensified the high pollen period. As human and vegetative activity shifts, so do the particles that float and settle in the air space.
Dust from the outside of the structure is collected weekly and the particulate deposited into a dated glass jar, and housed inside the structure, forming a "dust bank". The archived particles form a dust record, and bring attention to the as yet unknown potential of the current moment’s dust for the future.