The interplay between visualisations' style, content and origin show the uncomfortable mixing of the political, the environmental, and the social. Like toxic air, the story of Delhi's air pollution slips easily across different conceptual boundaries. The story is one about atmospheres - undoubtedly there, and yet, impossible to grasp. Instead, the ethnographer gestures towards it with image and language. These are fictions showing the way towards a fact, and, simultaneously, obscuring it.
This set of visualisations advances understandings of what ethnography does. Its power to gesture, and its powerlessness to reveal a single 'truth' is manifested in this visual essay.
The sentiment is lodged between a feeling of impotence to know and to do something ('Miracle cures') and of potential revelation. I do not know where this polluted air comes from, and what it really is ('the elemental ambiguity of PM2.5') but the feeling is, if we keep looking, keep reading, there might be a thread to grasp hold of, which will lead us to the answer. Maybe ethnography is a bit like a postmodern novel, where the 'truth' remains forever beyond reach and we are left rumaging through the detritus, delightful and intriguing in itself.