Pollutive Ends (2019)

We were asked to help with the development of Thijs Biersteker‘s interactive installation “Pollutive Ends“. The installation consists of a system of tubing that pumps water polluted by a single cigarette butt in an organic way, influenced by input from the visitors. Working together with Thijs we designed the pumping system and electronics and did the interaction design. We also did the programming of the whole installation.

With the art installation Pollutive Ends the artist Thijs Biersteker shows the impact of 1 cigarette butt on our environment and waters. The impact is made visible by moving small elements of real polluted water hypnotically right in front of the visitors eyes through an intricate tube system. The algorithmic driven pumping system calculates the amount of visitors that are in the museum, the likelihood that they smoke and the amount of pollution that they would generate.

“‘Pollutive Ends’ is an interactive artwork that wants us to focus on the smallest biggest polluter out there. The cigarette butt.”

One cigarette butt pollutes 3.4 milliliter of water per minute to a deadly level for small sea and ocean creatures. In 2006 researchers from the US Environmental Protection Agency discovered that when you put a cigarette butt in 1 liter of water for one day, the toxic waste it creates will kill 50% of all small sea creatures and fish in the water. These filters emit cadmium, lead, arsenic and zinc and the bits of tobacco left in the filter emit tar, nicotine, pesticides and other chemicals.