Pollution Pods by Michael Pinsky at Somerset House for Earth Day 2018 (c) Peter Macdiarmid for Somerset House

Michael Pinsky: Pollution Pods

18 – 25 Apr 2018

Mon, Tue, Sat & Sun 10.00 - 18.00, Wed - Fri 11.00 - 20.00, except Wed 25 Apr 11.00 - 18.00

The Edmond J. Safra
Fountain Court

An installation by artist Michael Pinsky made up of five geodesic domes, emulating polluted environments in cities globally.

These five geodesic domes each contain carefully created environments, simulating different atmospheric conditions globally. Visitors begin in Tautra in Norway, breathing in clean smelling air and then continuing through to the cities of London, New Delhi, Beijing and São Paulo which between them suffer from some of the lowest air quality in the world.  

Michael Pinsky: Pollution Pods

Each replicates nuanced polluted environments which contain varying levels of ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide. London’s invisible, but deadly, output nitrogen is followed by New Delhi where the air is filled with a haze of airborne particles. It is estimated that the average Londoner, exposed to the current levels of pollution loses up to 16 months of their life, while for a resident of New Delhi, pollution could cut short the life of a resident by around 4 years.

Taking inspiration from Buckminster Fullers’ geodesic domes, originally designed in the early 20th century to provide sustainable disaster-resistant global shelter using forms drawn from nature, the sculptural exterior starkly contrasts with the interpretation of toxic everyday realities within. First commissioned for and shown in the middle of nature in Norway, this iteration at Somerset House is sat within one of the most polluted areas of London. Somerset House was built and completed around the start of the industrial revolution, a time historically the beginning of mass overuse of the planet’s resources.  Caused by a whole array of domestic and industrial products and process, this work explores air pollution as one of the many the environmental and human impacts of contemporary consumerism. Pinsky’s work invites visitors to consider the complex and interconnected nature of our world, and aims to challenge perceptions of, and action around, climate change.

Pollution Pods by Michael Pinsky at Somerset House for Earth Day 2018 (c) Peter Macdiarmid for Somerset House
Pollution Pods by Michael Pinsky at Somerset House

Pinsky’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.

Michael Pinsky is a British artist whose work have been shown in galleries and public spaces internationally. Taking the combined roles of artist, urban planner, activist, researcher, and citizen he often starts residencies and commissions without a specified agenda, working with local people and resources, allowing the physical, social and political environment to define his working methodology. Past work has been shown at TATE Britain; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chengdu; Saatchi Gallery; Victoria and Albert Museum; Institute for Contemporary Art, London; La Villette, Paris; BALTIC, Gateshead; Centre for Contemporary Art, Glasgow and more.  

Useful Information: Sophie Power, CEO of Airlabs has written this blog suggesting ways to reduce exposure to air pollution in London. Click here to find out more. 

Pollution Pods has been generously supported by the following organisations:

Airlabs, Arts Council England, Build With Hubs, Cape Farewell, International Flavors & Fragrances Ltd, Norwegian Research Council, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), The Norwegian Institute of Air Research (NILU), University of East London 

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