Take a fascinating journey through the pollution and air quality of cities across the world in Michael Pinsky’s powerful and immersive installation.
Step inside a series of climatically controlled pods and compare five contrasting global environments where the air quality, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide levels of five cities is recreated. Starting with the truly clean air of Tautra in Norway, audiences continue through the astonishing smog and pollution of London, New Delhi, Beijing and Sao Paolo.
After its premiere opening in Tautra, Norway, Pollution Pods has been experienced by over 30,000 visitors in London, Geneva, Bremerhaven, Vancouver, Manchester, Dorset, Melbourne and New York. Inspiring world leaders and youth activists during the UN Climate Summit, and headlining the UN WHO’s first Global Conference on Air Pollution and Climate Change, the artwork has reaching millions more through media coverage and rave reviews.
Around the World
“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.”Michael Pinsky
Five geodesic domes are connected to form a ring. Within each dome the air quality of five global cities is recreated. A carefully mixed recipe emulates the relative presence of ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide which pollute these cities. Starting from the hosting city, the visitor passes through increasingly polluted cells, from dry and cold locations to hot and humid.
The release of toxic gases from domestic and industrial sources both increase the rate of global warming and have a direct effect on our present day health. In the West, in cities such as London, one in five children suffer from asthma. Whilst in the developing countries such as Delhi, over half the children have stunted lung development and will never completely recover. However, this pollution is difficult to understand through images, as the smog of such as Delhi seems almost romantic and much of the most dangerous toxins are not visible at all.
Much of this pollution is driven by the insatiable appetite of capitalist consumerism. Whilst we here in the developed world live in an environment with relatively clean air, people in countries such as China and India are being poisoned by the air borne toxins created from industries fulfilling orders from the West.
The experience of walking through Pollution Pods demonstrates that these worlds are interconnected and interdependent – we feel, taste and smell the environments that are the norm for a huge swathe of the world’s population. Our need for ever cheaper goods is reflected in the ill health of many people in world and in the ill health of our planet as a whole. In this installation we can feel, taste and smell the environments that are the norm for a huge swathe of the world’s population.
The creation of Pollution Pods has been generously supported by the following organisations: Airlabs, Build With Hubs, Cape Farewell, International Flavors & Fragrances Ltd, King’s College London, Norwegian Research Council, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), The Norwegian Institute of Air Research (NILU), University of East London.