Artist Installs “Pollution Pods” That Replicate the Effects of Climate Change Around the World

Pollution Pod Installation by Michael Pinsky at King's Crossing in London

If you were a tourist or a commuter this October near King’s Cross Station in London, you may have seen an inviting shelter of connected geodesic domes. But these domes did not provide shelter from the weather. Instead, entering these domes would confront you with some funky smells and foggy sights. Known as Pollution Pods, this installation by visual artist Michael Pinsky introduced visitors to the climate conditions of five sites that represent varying levels of air quality, smells, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and temperature.

The pods have traveled around the world and have been experienced by over 30,000 visitors. As people enter each dome, they experience a range of interior environments that ask them to reflect on the effects of climate change. In the first dome, Pinsky replicates the atmosphere in Trondheim, Norway. Here, the refreshing air acts as a basis for the pollution found on the other sites.

Interior of Pollution Pod Installation by Michael Pinsky at King's Crossing in London

Visitors can then move on to a London pod that smells of diesel and tar and asks us to consider the way we get around. In the New Delhi pod, visitors can experience the replicated environment of the worst air pollution in the world. Here, the temperature is higher and visibility is low. The Beijing Pod invites visitors to experience the increased pollution of winters in this area and the smell of sulfur. In São Paulo, the air smells of vinegar and the ozone levels make the eyes water.

Once visitors have finished experiencing the polluted environment around the world, they end their journey back in the Trondheim pod where they began. This reinforces the drastic effects climate change is having on our environment.

Though Pollution Pods has since moved on from its King’s Cross location, having made a stop in Glasgow for the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, you can look forward to finding the installation at other cities around the world.

Pollution Pods simulate the atmosphere of sites around the world and demonstrate the effects of climate change.

Close-up of Pollution Pod Installation by Michael Pinsky at King's Crossing in LondonPollution Pod Installation by Michael Pinsky at King's Crossing in LondonPollution Pod Installation by Michael Pinsky at King's Crossing in LondonPollution Pod Installation by Michael Pinsky at King's Crossing in London

Michael Pinsky: Website | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Michael Pinsky.

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Samantha Pires

Sam Pires is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She is also a freelance architectural designer. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from NJIT and is currently earning a Master in Architecture II from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Sam has design experience at multiple renowned architecture firms such as Gensler and Bjarke Ingels Group. She believes architecture should be more accessible to everyone and uses writing to tell unexpected stories about the built environment. You can connect with her online at @sampir.fi.
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