Red sunsets, a natural miracle? by POLITECNICO di MILANO

“Red sunsets, a natural miracle?” project illustrates the relationship between the presence of air pollution and the “red” color of sunsets.
The approach to data visualisation has here the aim to create an emotional narrative through data about a current environmental issue.
Especially in large cities, the main cause of the red tone in sunsets is air pollution. Small molecules suspended in the air, called aerosols, scatter more the short wavelengths (ex. blues and violets) than the long ones (ex. red). This phenomenon, together with “Reyleigh Scattering” generates astonishing red sunsets.

Each painting of the project represents a sunset and the legend under each painting shows the directly proportional increase of red tone with the amount of pollution in the air.
What is the climate cost for a beautiful sunset?
I would like to enphasise the interesting contrast of this situation: unluckily, sometimes what we mostly appreciate as a “natural miracle” is caused by our own negative operations.
My communication intention is therefore to make people more aware of the causes of this phenomenon and to think about other similar tricky situations.
The hyperrealistic oil paintings plays with the ambiguity between photograph and painting
by focusing on the contrasting theme of natural-artificial. The repetition of the same subject moves the attention on the color of the sunset, which is the only difference between the three canvases, suggesting the viewers the theme to observe.