Anthropocene Mask

Through these 5 weeks I have searched a lot about the climate change and all the issues that are related to it. I focused on my country, Saudi Arabia, in most of the projects I did in this class. For that, I decided to create a mask for the final project that works a solution for the climate-related issues in Saudi Arabia.

I focused mainly on 3 points:

  • The effect of global warming on the climate. The temperature is increasing annually, and the ultra violet rays’ effect is getting stronger and stronger.
  • The levels of carbon dioxide is increasing as well, which is affecting the whole environment and causing the cycle to slow down and become unhealthy.
  • Sandstorms in Saudi Arabia have become a season. It actually occurs twice a year; since we only have 2 seasons, summer and winter, so it happens in the time of change of seasons. The sandstorms are caused by the pressure that is caused by the global warming, causing the wind to stur the sands in the deserts into the urban cities.

I first started by sketching ideas in the picture below. The main idea I had was making a mask that looks like its melting from the heat, then add sunglass lenses to the eye part to protect it from the sun and the ultra violet rays, and finally I decided to add a dust mask in the area where the nose and the mouth is to protect the user from the sandstorms and the carbon dioxide that surrounds one. ┬áThe differences are in the shape of the mask. The first one on the top left looks like a circle that represents the globe, the second on the right has the face shape, finally the one in the bottom looks like it’s melting and it doesn’t have a specific shape.



IMG_8231For the material, I thought of using plaster because I have used it before and it would help me make the shape I want. Then I thought of using mud, because it will be as easy and helpful as plaster, it will be cold which will protect one’s face from the heat, and it’s what the ancient Saudi’s used to build things from. My teacher suggested using sand, which will be powerful in the meaning since the mask works as a protection from the sandstorms, however, I thought it was going to be hard to shape and I thought of adding it to the face of the mask that is originally made from either plaster or mud.

I started off by trying different things like taping my face to get the shape, then putting clay on it to get the shape, and poring plaster all over the clay. However all these attempts have failed. The plaster broke two times as seen below in the pictures.


After that, I placed a plastic bag over my head, made holes to breathe and see, and started putting tissue paper that is damped in Elmer’s glue mixed with water and placed over the plastic bag on my head to get the shape. I left it to dry for a while and I got this.


I made holes for the eyes and the nose and mouth area where I want to place the dust mask. I got the shape of the mask then used a spray glue on top of the mask and poured ground arabic coffee to give the feeling of sand and dust.


I started working on the eye area by breaking my sunglasses and taking the lens.


I used clay arround the lenses to give it a perfect circular shape.


Placed the lenses on the mask using glue to hold the lenses in place.


Finally, I glued in the dust mask, and this was the final result of the mask.


After making the mask it was time to think of a way to represent it to people. The mask is made for people who live in Saudi Arabia, and who feel the change of climate there. For that, I decided to make a poster presentin the mask and the whole idea, and sending it to my folks in Saudi Arabia to see how they think of it and what is their oppinion about it, since they are the ones experiencing it. I first thought of printing the poster and hangng it in some place in New York and see if people understand, but I thought it was pointless, pluss, some people here don’t even know what Saudi Arabia is. I designed the poster using Adobe Photoshop and it turned out to be like this.


The man is walking in one if the neighborhoods in Riyadh, wearing a the traditional clothes for men and the mask, as a sandstorm is hitting the city. I wrote a title as a question “Would this mask be the solution for Saudis?” and wrote on the botton an explanation: ” Sine the temperature is increasing annually, and sandstorms have become a season.”

Design brief:

The temperature and the levels of Co2 in Saudi Arabia is increasing, and sandstorms have become a season that takes place between the changing of seasons. This mask is a solution for all these problems, that is being introduced to Saudis for the first time.

I sent the poster via email to my folks in Saudi Arabia and asked them to film their responses in a very short video so that I can know their reflection on the project and what they understood from the poster.

The video below has the responses of Saudis on the mask:

Responses video

I really enjoyed every single part of the project starting from trying materials and failing to receiving the responses from my people. I enjoyed seeing how people thing about the project and I was so excited to open every single one of them. I learned more about the why the climate change is happening in Saudi Arabia and what is causing this to happen. I learned more about using materials and it was a nice experience making a mask for the first time and all the failures that taught me a lot. However, I wished I could hang a poster in the streets of my country to see the responses of more people if I had more time.

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