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Exhibition Offers a Taste of Air Pollution

A London art exhibit lets visitors experience a simulation of the polluted air from five cities around the world.
April 30, 2018, 2pm PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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The Pinsky Pollution Pod exhibit was on open for a week in London, coinciding with Earth Day.

Walk into the tent-like structure meant to simulate Beijing's air and your mouth fills with the taste of ash. "Built for Earth Day by artist Michael Pinsky and Danish air-filtering company Airlabs, the exhibit recreates the smell, heat, and haze of four notoriously polluted cities: London, New Delhi, Beijing, and Sao Paulo," Feargus O'Sullivan reports. The artists behind the little environments say they are safe to visit, because they merely simulate the air in these cities. The installation inhabits the courtyard in front of Somerset House in London.

"For a Londoner, at least, what you can’t see or feel in the domes is as disconcerting as what you can," O'Sullivan writes. The insidious nature of air pollution is that eventually you can't tell the air is bad anymore. "Fine particles may cause concern in London, but it’s perfectly possible to go about one’s business there without registering their presence, until asthma or bronchitis hit."

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Published on Thursday, April 26, 2018 in CityLab
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