We create massive amounts of carbon emissions every day. Due to motor vehicles, industrial plants and other forms of heavy machinery, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere remains at a hazardous level. A new venture called Air Ink has developed an ingenious solution to the problem: a range of art materials that repurpose pollutants in the air using ink.
Created by a collective known as Graviky Labs, each Air Ink pen reportedly contains the same amount of carbon pollution produced by a regular sized car in the space of 30-50 minutes. In a sense, it’s life-saving. Humanity's persistent reliance upon the burning of fossil fuels has created an over abundance of its byproduct – soot – and research indicates that soot particle exposure leads to almost 20,000 premature deaths in the United States alone.
Graviky Labs founder, Anirudh Sharma, began experimenting with the idea for the product while working as a researcher at MIT media lab. He then went on to start Graviky Labs in India, where he and his team of creative and scientific-minded colleagues developed it further. "I thought, artists create their work through smudging, marks, ink and paint,” he told CNN. “How do we tackle this air pollution problem creatively, like an artist would? What if we used art as a way to repurpose this carbon soot?"
In partnership with Tiger Beer, Graviky Labs began testing the product on the streets of Hong Kong, a city well known for it’s high level of pollution. Nine local artists were invited to use the innovative new product in the city’s Sheung Wan district. One artist, Cath Love, declared the product genius, saying, “I'm not a scientist, I can't tell you if this would leave a dent in the state of our environment. But this concept -- to make use of what we already have in the air, instead of extracting it from new materials -- really is a positive approach to creating sustainable art.”
The product is currently awaiting certification before it will likely move on to mass production. Air Ink’s first range will include pens, oil-based paints and spray paints, all of which will contain pigments extracted from carbon soot.