Yields from fields
AETHAER, whose strapline is ‘breathe clean, live refreshed’, has caused a stir across the globe for the sale of its flagship product: bottled air.
The company, headed up by 27 year old businessman Leo De Watts, sells jars of air ‘farmed’ from the British countryside. The AETHAER jars contain fresh air from locations across the UK including Somerset, Dorset, Wales and Wiltshire and will set you back a hefty £80.
Described on the website as ‘enviro-political artworks’, the jars have proven particularly popular with Chinese buyers, with Watts confirming that he sold 180 jars in the first few weeks of business.
The website does a fantastic job of describing the air contained within the jars, only going to strengthen the popularity amongst foreign buyers who genuinely wish to own a small part of the untouched British countryside. The website states, “AETHAER is collected from fresh natural air flowing over a range of prime locations, from fertile lush pastures and wild untouched meadows, to wind-kissed hilltops and heavenly snow-capped mountains.”
“AETHAER is filtered organically by nature as it flows between the leaves of woodland trees, absorbs pristine water as it passes over babbling brooks and forest streams, and is lovingly caressed as it rolls over and between mineral rich rock formations, after which it is blown up over vistas of untouched beauty to where the AETHAER is collected and bottled.”
The selling of jars of air (let alone for £80) has naturally caused a few raised eyebrows, with some concerned that the company is taking advantage of foreign buyers. De Watts claims however that the thinking behind the jars comes from a place of environmental concern, with the company also disclosing that they give some of the proceeds to charity.
The company states that “the AETHAER project is aimed at highlighting issues of environmental concern and is being developed to help inspire original thought to combat such issues.” And we can see how this might work. With coverage of the project reaching newsrooms across the globe and being picked up by media outlets like CNN, The Telegraph, the New York Post, WIRED, it’s not hard to see their message being spread.
By getting people talking and thinking about the value of clean air AETHAER aim to “be a starting point for conversation that leads to change”. Certainly, for those who are lucky enough to live in such places as the untouched English countryside, the fact that people are actually willing to pay so much for a small sample must mean something.
Looking beyond the absurdity of the product and the thousands of people across the UK saying ‘I wish I’d thought of that’, there is quite a disturbing subtext. The fact that hundreds of people across the globe, particularly from high pollution areas, are willing to pay £80 to own a small amount of fresh air really begs the question of what kind of world we’re living in.
AETHAER may be a few decades early, but perhaps they are alluding to the fact that they are bottling something that one day will be so rare it will surpass a monetary value…