Pollution Pods, a sensory installation by British artist Michael Pinsky, will recreate the pollution from five cities across three continents to raise awareness that the world, and our own impact on it, is interconnected.
The installation, which will be on display at London’s Somerset House between 18 and 24 April, takes visitors on a tour of climatically controlled pods in order to compare the quality of polluted global environments.
The journey starts in the entry pod, emulating a peninsula in Norway called Tautra, which contains the cleanest air. Using Airlabs technology, all harmful gases will be fully removed for the immersive experience, making it totally pure and reinstalling the sense of what it is like to breathe truly clean air.
Moving along the pods, the journey continues through Beijing, São Paulo and on to London’s toxic output of nitrogen dioxide and New Delhi’s suffocating haze of airborne particulates.
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 4 years.
Through Pollution Pods, Michael Pinsky considers how the excessive consumerism of the West has far-reaching consequences on the environment of the East.
The artist’s original commission was from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim for Climart and it is the first time that the Pollution Pods will be presented in the UK.
The installation, held in the courtyard of Somerset House, coincides with Earth Day celebrations on 22 April. Alongside the pods, visitors will be able to see Choropleth, a colour-changing Union Jack flag, which will go from red, white and blue to grey and black as it’s exposed to London’s ultraviolet radiation in real time.
Somerset House’s secret coalholes will also be host to a series of mushrooms, which are being grown by food-growing project Edible Utopia.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea