Air Quality

Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea has created animation that maps out “hot spots” of bad air throughout the GTA, which come to life as ghost-like parasitical entities.

Artist Statement

Title: Bad Air

Bad Air is a video installation of non-linear animations that explore the theme of air quality in the GTA.

While overall air quality has improved in the GTA over the last decade, this improvement has been unequal and has left certain areas with pockets of bad air.

One of the biggest contributors to this phenomenon has been the extraordinary increase in traffic in recent years in the city. It comes as no surprise, then, that most of these “hot spots” are located around congested highways. Many of these areas are heavily populated or are in the process of being developed.

Bad Air uses animated vignettes to map and activate areas in Toronto where hot spots of bad air occur. Using a combination of digital and traditional animation techniques, I recreate Toronto landscapes haunted by ghost-like and parasitical entities. These incorporeal beings range from the simple to the complex, and travel long distances floating through the air. Yet they remain invisible to passersby, who are unaware of the harmful effects upon their health.

The animations of Bad Air blur the boundary between the real and the imaginary. By using animation and fantasy, my intention is to make these “hot spots” visible and bring them into a larger conversation regarding health and privilege in the city.

– Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea

About the Artist

Gustavo Cerquera Benjumea is a Colombian-Canadian Toronto-based digital media artist, animator, and teacher.

Gustavo specializes in computer animation, video installation and drawing. His work explores psychedelia, plant biology and Latin American histories.

His work has been exhibited at venues across Canada, including the Ottawa International Animation Festival, the Toronto Animated Image Society, the Niagara Artist Centre, Summerworks Festival and Nuit Blanche. He also directed the music video for Lido Pimienta and Chancha Via Circuito’s “Jardines”.

Gustavo teaches at OCADU and Brock University.

Project Collaborators

Kevin Behan, Deputy Director, Clean Air Partnership

Christopher Morgan, Air Quality Program Manager, City of Toronto