Lungs—and breathing clearly—have been on the world's mind over the past few years. And now, a group of South Korean artists has designed a concept that takes breathing to a new level. Super Lung is a metal lung concept that uses algae to convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. Designed by Bongkyu Song of BKID in collaboration with artists Moon and Jeon, these “new” lungs take a cue from the highly efficient respiratory system of birds.
While birds have lungs, they don't expand and contract like those of mammals. Instead, they have different air sacs distributed throughout their body that ventilate the lungs. Similarly, Super Lung uses algae to create this same one-way flow. The algae use anterior air sacs in a way that the designers compare to air flowing through a radiator grill in a combustion engine. This cuts down on the need for exhalation, which they point to as the main cause of infection. In fact, according to the designers, this concept increases respiratory efficiency in mammals by 300%.
Super Lung is an interesting concept that was designed for Moon and Jeon's exhibition News from Nowhere: Freedom Village. The exhibit, which runs until February 20, 2022 at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA), is part of the MMCA Hyundai Motor Series 2021. Freedom Village is a continuation of their News from Nowhere project, which asks “fundamental questions about the role that art can play in our rapidly changing world and the crises that humanity faces.”
By tackling the pandemic and the extreme ways we may need to adapt, the artists are looking at how humans deal with tragedy. The exhibition, which also includes an interactive video installation, was inspired by William Morris' classic utopian novel, News from Nowhere.