Residency program aims to turn captured carbon materials into art
Expedition Air is looking for local artists to creatively use carbon emission infused powder for its Artist in Residence program.
The company's mission is to create change using carbon emissions and converts carbon dioxide (CO2) gas into consumer products.
"We store the gaseous CO2 into inorganic solid powders," said Madison Savilow, venture lead for Expedition Air. "Those then go into end products and in our consumer product line that means anything from concrete planters to crayons to pens even textiles."
Just behind the Shepard Energy Centre in southeast Calgary is where you'll find the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre. CO2 is being captured from the flue stacks of the natural gas plant before it hits the atmosphere.
"We're going to be needing to show climate solutions in many different ways," said Savilow. "We need people to connect to it emotionally and understand what's behind it, so this is just one way that we're doing it is to showcase it through art."
Expedition Air believes that art is an effective way of mobilizing action for some of the world’s most complex issues. Savilow says climate change is a global problem and art has the ability to create an emotional connection with people who view it, which in turn can prompt climate action.
"The applications are now open on our web site," said Savilow. "So visual artists of any type can apply to that and we'll then sponsor them with material made from CO2, with technical support as well as business development, to really get out there that art is an important way of facilitating climate action."
Carbon Upcycling Technologies is Expedition Air's parent company and it started developing consumer products made from its carbon-derived materials in 2019. In 2021, it decided to launch Expedition Air as its consumer-facing brand.
"I know in Calgary we talk a lot about the energy transition and I think that needs to be a wider community outreach than what we're doing right now just targeting the energy sector," said Savilow. "It needs to include artists, it needs to include consumers and everyone so I think that's something we're focusing on here."
Louis Merchan is an artist working just outside of Bogota, Colombia. He uses carbon dioxide infused powder, added to his paint. Merchan is also using technology. When his finished piece is looked at by the naked eye it's a negative landscape image with dark dreary colours but when it's seen through an app the painting magically becomes positive with blues and greens.
"I was looking for new materials that talk about how technology is empowering people and entrepreneurs to find solutions for some of the greatest challenges and problems facing humanity," said Merchan.
The residency is for visual artists with a passion for new material exploration and applications open on April 6th and close on April 30th, 2021.
For more information, visit the Expedition Air website.