Published: 08th May 2018
This London art installation lets you experience how pollution feels in different countries
The dome which emulated the atmosphere of Tautra, an island in the municipality of Frosta in Norway, contained the purest air
Still in denial about air pollution? Well, this British artist has taken it upon himself to give you a little experience of it. Michael Pinsky, a leading artist was on a mission this Earth Day to let people from across the world experience the pollution level in different cities first hand in order to understand the severity of the situation. His artworks were designed to deliver a powerful rallying cry to do more to protect the environment.
Pinsky created five "Pollution Pods"- a series of geodesic domes emulating the atmosphere and pollution level of different cities across three continents, including New Delhi.
These installations were placed in Somerset House in London from April 18 to 25 and travelling through them visitors could sense the difference in these atmospheres.
Installation art: Artist Michael Pinksy stands in one of his Pollution Pods
The installations were basically five domes that were six metres high and three metres wide. People experienced the atmosphere and pollution level in five different cities namely London, Beijing, São Paulo, New Dehli, and Tautra in Norway. These five cities were chosen because each one suffers from a different kind of pollution.
The installations were placed like a ring in the centre of Somerset House's courtyard, and the visitors had to pass through the climatically controlled pods to compare the quality of polluted global environments. They replicated the atmosphere, such as the air, fumes, temperature, and the smell of different cities.
The dome which emulated the atmosphere of Tautra, an island in the municipality of Frosta in Norway, contained the purest air.
All of the five pods were linked so that the visitors had to pass through all of them in order to exit the installation.
The different atmospheres inside the domes were completely safe for the visitors and were created with the assistance of Norwegian Institute of Air Research. The entry pod, emulating the atmosphere in Tautra contained the cleanest air. Using Airlabs technology, all harmful gases were completely removed, making it totally pure and reinstalling the sense of what it is like to breathe truly clean air.
The intolerable heat of New Delhi was created by using three column heaters and a haze machine was used to produce smog.
It is estimated that the average Londoner, exposed to the current levels of pollution recreated in the installation, would lose up to 16 months of their life, with a resident of New Delhi cutting their life short by four years.
Pollution pods: These domes let you experience pollution level in different cities
In this work, Pinsky said he considers how the excessive consumerism of the West has far-reaching consequences on the environment of the East.
The artist said: “I wanted to test whether art can really change people’s perceptions of, and actions around, climate change. In the Pollution Pods, I have tried to distil the whole bodily sense of being in each place. For instance, being in São Paulo seems like a sanctuary compared to New Delhi, until your eyes start to water from the sensation of ethanol, whilst Tautra is unlike any air you’ll have ever breathed before, it is so pure.”
“I have worked with a range of specialists – such as Lizzie Ostrom of Odette Toilette who co-curated Somerset House’s Perfume exhibition last year – to do this, and you can feel such a startlingly difference in each pod. I hope such a strong visceral installation will leave a lasting impression and inspire people to think twice about their actions," he added.