BREATHE - PhMuseum

BREATHE

Matjaz Krivic

2019 - Ongoing

Unmasking one of the biggest threats to mankind

You probably haven’t thought about your last breath. It came as naturally as few things do – breathing is one of life’s essential necessities. But while humans have been busy propelling progress, producing and consuming on an unprecedented scale, we have left a dark cloud in the air that we breathe.

Air pollution has grown to the point where it takes seven million lives worldwide each year. Half a million in Europe alone and over four million in Asia. Industrial exhaust, personal- and freight transport, agriculture, waste management and household heating are infusing our atmosphere with hard particles, ground layer ozone and other gases that make the air hazardous to our lungs.

While an increasing number of people are hiding behind masks to protect themselves from the immediate effects of polluted air, a long-term solution is needed. Fortunately, technological solutions to this pandemic do exist. But there is still a dire need for awareness and commitment to change.

Think about your next breath. Think about the breaths of billions being threatened. Think about the mask as a symbol – unmasking one of our biggest threats, by showing individuals shielding themselves from the side effects of our common progress.

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  • Mr. Binod Podhar (42) Kathmandu, Nepal / AQI 195 / 05th of December 2019
    Who: I recycle rubbish at Teku dump yard in Kathmandu.
    Hopes: I want to earn enough money and go away from here to start my own business. I want to take better care of my family and their health.
    Why I wear a mask: To protect myself against the smell, air pollution and dust.

  • Mr. Suresh Shrestha (23) Patan, Nepal / AQI 203 / 06th of December 2019
    Who: I work as a mobile technician in Kathmandu. Right now I am on my way to a friend’s wedding.
    Hopes: I want to get away from Nepal. My dream is to make a new life for myself in Australia.
    But I’m afraid of not getting a visa or a good job there.
    Why I wear a mask: I cough a lot and I get sick quite often. I hope the mask can protect me from some of the pollution.

  • Mr. Dawa Chiring Sherpa (18) Kathmandu, Nepal / AQI 197 / 04th of December 2019
    Who: I’m studying 3D animation at the local college.
    Hopes: I want to be good at school and make my family happy. And I want to become a singer one day. Why I wear a mask: In addition to the bad air in Kathmandu, I like to wear a mask, because
    I can sing without anyone seeing or hearing me.

  • Mrs. Soon Lama (30) Kathmandu, Nepal / AQI 197 / 04th of December 2019
    Who: I run a small business in Boudhanath.
    Hopes: I hope my business will be running well so I can take good care of my family.
    Why I wear a mask: I am deeply concerned about my health, due to the heavy air pollution here in Kathmandu. I always wear a mask.

  • Mr. R.S. Sain (61) Delhi, India / AQI 403 / 10th of December 2019
    Who: I am a retired Ayurvedic doctor. I am very concerned about the air pollution and
    India needs to improve air quality, especially in big cities like Delhi.
    Hopes: I hope the next generations will have a safer and cleaner life. Clean water, food and air. Why I wear a mask: I am wearing mask to protect my self against heavy air pollution in Delhi.

  • Mr. Thub Tensam Phell (63) Kathmandu, Nepal / AQI 197 / 04th of December 2019
    Who: I am a Tibetan Buddhist monk. The most important thing for me is practise “Bodichitta”, and pray
    for the awakening, empathy and compassion for all beings.
    Hopes: Every living being is my friend. And I hope we will learn to take better care of our home, our planet. Why I wear a mask: There is too much dust and air pollution here. I catch colds and allergies often because of it.

  • Mrs. Kanchi Takuri (65) Kathmandu, Nepal / AQI 195 / 05th of December 2019
    Who: I have recycled rubbish at the Teku dump yard in Kathmandu for 41 years.
    My husband died 15 years ago and left me with 3 sons and 2 daughters.
    Hopes: I want my children to be healthy and have a better life than me.
    Why I wear a mask: I’m protecting myself against bad smell, air pollution and constant dust.

  • Mr. Saros Tamang (16) Kathmandu, Nepal / AQI 197 / 04th of December 2019
    Who: I am a high school student.
    Hopes: I want to become a famous rapper. I’m already writing my own lyrics,
    and I want to do rap full time when I finish high school.
    Why I wear a mask: Kathmandu has terrible air, so I get allergies and catch a cold often if I don’t wear it.

  • Mr. Arpeed Shukla (29) Delhi, India / AQI 598 / 11th of December 2019
    Who: I work in finance, for a foreign bank in Cyber City.
    Hopes: I want Delhi to have better air quality. But I fear that the government won’t do much about it. Why I wear a mask: I wear a mask due to disastrous air pollution in Delhi.
    Thank you for making this project for us! Thank you for making people aware of our problem!

  • Mrs. Jia (50) Beijing, China / AQI 171 / 28th of November 2019
    Who: I live in a Hutong in Beijing with my husband.
    Hopes: I hope I will have a better life one day. I’m afraid of getting old alone. Why I wear a mask: I cough, get sore eyes and allergies if I don’t wear a mask. The government should clean up the air.

  • Mr. Bindeshwar Sing (46) Delhi, India / AQI 598 / 11th of December 2019
    Who: I work as a security guard at Cyber City.
    Hopes: I want to keep my job, so I can continue to take care of my family. Why I wear a mask: I am on the streets all day, every day.
    Breathing constant vehicle exhaust would be unbearable without the mask.

  • Miss. Janvi (17) Delhi, India / AQI 403 / 10th of December 2019
    Who: I am still studying,
    Hopes: I want to get a job in a good company as a secretary when I finish my studies. I love K-pop, and I really want to go to Korea.
    Why I wear a mask: Without it, I get sick from the air pollution.

  • Miss Lin (23) Beijing, China / AQI 171 / 28th of November 2019
    Who: I studied art at Goldsmiths College in London. I came back to Beijing 3 months ago.
    I now need to pay back the money my family lend me to study abroad.
    Hopes: I work in an art gallery in Beijing, and I want to become an artist myself. But I’m afraid I won’t earn enough money from it. Why I wear a mask: Today is very cold and the air pollution is very high.

  • Mr. Summit Shrestha (17) Patan, Nepal / AQI 203 / 06th of December 2019
    Who: I am a student at Molish College in Kathmandu.
    I am dressed in white now, because one of my parents just died.
    Hopes: My dream is to become a chef in a good restaurant. I will work very hard to make that happen. Why I wear a mask: The air pollution in Kathmandu is making people sick. I am also sick a lot.

  • Miss. Zoe (24) Beijing, China / AQI 167 / 29th of November 2019
    Who: I work in an advertising agency here in Beijing.
    Hopes: I like Beijing and I want to stay in here. But I’m afraid I won’t be able to afford it.
    Why I wear a mask: Gansu is not as polluted as Beijing. But you actually get used to the pollution here in Beijing. But I still wear a mask to protect myself against air pollution.

  • Mr. Amil (48) Delhi, India / AQI 403 / 10th of December 2019
    Who: I am a traffic police officer here in Delhi. I really like my job, because I like to help people. Hopes: I hope to get away from the streets some day and live a healthy life.
    Why I wear a mask: I am constantly exposed to exhaust from heavy vehicles and terrible air pollution. I always wear a mask.

  • DuoDuo (2) Beijing, China / AQI 167 / 29th of November 2019
    Hopes: His mother Lily says she hopes the air quality will get better in Beijing.
    She wants her baby to live in a healthy environment.
    Why I wear a mask: Lily says she is afraid to live like this. Everything is polluted water, food, air - it is all poisonous. That is why she is covering her and her child’s face with masks.

  • Mr. Kirishan Kumar (17) Delhi, India / AQI 403 / 10th of December 2019
    Who: I am a dancer.
    Hopes: I want to make a career in dance. I moved to Delhi to become a successful dancer. Why I wear a mask: Bihar, where I come from, is not as polluted as Delhi.
    I wear a mask because I’m afraid of getting sick and not being able to practice dance.

  • Miss Sarmija (14) Kathmandu, Nepal / AQI 184 / 03rd of December 2019
    Who: I’m a high school student from Thamel.
    Hopes: I want to be a famous singer one day.
    Why I wear a mask: I am really afraid of the air pollution and what it does to my health. If I don’t use it, I cough a lot and get sick.

  • Miss Molly, from Guangzhou, China (28) Kathmandu, Nepal / AQI 184 / 03rd of December 2019
    Who: I want to have my own clothing store one day.
    Hopes: My family is very important to me, and I want to have kids of my own soon. Why I wear a mask: The air pollution gives me allergies and colds if I don’t wear a mask.


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