Pollution Pods

Michael Pinsky

Performance: Daily
Location: Brownsea Island
FREE (note that National Trust and Brownsea Island ferry charges will apply)

Michael Pinsky’s attitude altering installation comes to Brownsea Island, October 25 – 29

Friday 25 – Tuesday 29 October 2019 
Church Field, Brownsea Island, Poole Harbour
10am – 4.30pm

FREE (ferry fare and National Trust admission charges apply) 

Artist Michael Pinsky’s groundbreaking installation Pollution Pods lands on Brownsea Island in Dorset this October.

Through a series of interlinked geodesic domes, you can travel through the atmosphere in each separate pod which recreates the air quality, smell and temperature of five major cities – Tautra, London, Beijing, São Paulo and New Delhi.

Each dome contains a carefully mixed recipe that safely emulates the excessive quantities of ozone, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide that pollute these cities. As you pass through the five cells, moving from dry and cold locations to hot and humid, for a few minutes at a time you will experience, at no risk to your health, the sensation of breathing toxic air that is a daily reality for millions of people.

“In the Pollution Pods, I have tried to distil the whole bodily sense of being in each place,” says artist Michael Pinsky. “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.”

In western cities such as London, one in five children suffer from asthma; while in cities such as Delhi in developing countries, more than half the child population has irreparable stunted lung development. Many of the airborne toxins in cities such as Delhi and Beijing are created by industries fulfilling orders for the developed world.

A walk through the Pollution Pods reminds us our world is interconnected and interdependent and the price of the western world’s need for ever cheaper goods is the ill-health of our planet as a whole. In this installation you can feel, taste and smell the environments that are the norm for a huge swathe of the world’s population.

Michael Pinsky’s work has been experienced by more than 20,000 people since it was launched last year at the Starmus Festival in Norway. Climate activist Greta Thunberg and a host of world leaders who gathered for the UN Climate Action Summit in September also had a taste of the toxic air pollution when they visited Michael Pinsky’s Pollution Pods in New York.

Did you know?

  • Sending one person to all five Pollution Pods locations is the equivalent of 5,288 return journeys from the mainland to Brownsea Island.
  • For the equivalent carbon footprint of one class of primary school children experiencing the air pollution in each city in real life the entire population of Bournemouth could visit Brownsea Island and experience Pollution Pods.


Pollution Pods will be on Brownsea Island from Friday 25 to Tuesday 29 October in a collaboration between Activate, producers of Inside Out Dorset, the county’s biennial outdoor arts festival, and Cape Farewell, the artist-led organisation that uses culture to change how people think about climate change, and is supported by the National Trust.

Pollution Pods has been generously supported by the following organisations: Airlabs, Arts Council England, Build With Hubs, Cape Farewell, International Flavours & Fragrances Ltd, National Trust, Norwegian Research Council, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), The Norwegian Institute of Air Research (NILU), University of East London.

To plan your visit see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brownseaisland

Supplementary to Pollution Pods will be a discussion event at Lighthouse, Poole.

photos credits: Rachel Dunford, Michael Pinsky, Thor Nielsen

Getting to the event

Brownsea Island

Brownsea Island

Poole Harbour, Poole, Dorset, BH13 7EE


By cycle

Please note that it’s not possible to bring bikes to the island. Cycle racks are available at Poole Quay and Sandbanks Jetty. National Cycle Network Route 25 runs from Blandford Forum to Bournemouth, via Wimborne Minster and on to Poole Quay, along on-road and traffic-free sections. National Cycle Network Route 2 runs all the way from Hengistbury Head, along Bournemouth Promenade, which is traffic-free, and on to Sandbanks. Please note restrictions apply along the promenade between 10am and 7pm from mid-June to mid-Sept. For more information visit Bournemouth Tourist Information


By ferry

Poole Quay: Greenslades Pleasure Boats and Brownsea Island Ferries run ferries from 10am, then every half hour throughout the day. Ferries depart Brownsea back to Poole at 20 mins past and 10 mins to each hour. Sandbanks Jetty: Brownsea Island Ferries run from 10am then every half hour throughout the day. Ferries depart Brownsea at 15 mins past and 15 mins to each hour. Please note there is no 1pm or 1:15pm service. All visitors, including National Trust members, need to purchase tickets (cash only). Last boats leave the island at 5pm. For service information please see: Greenslade Pleasure Boats: 01202 669955 www.greensladepleasureboats.co.uk and Brownsea Island Ferries 01929 462383 www.brownseaislandferries.com.


By bus

For Sandbanks: services from Bournemouth, Swanage and Poole. For Poole Quay: alight Poole Bridge


By train

Poole station to Poole Quay, 0.5 miles; Branksome or Parkstone stations to Sandbanks Jetty, 3.5 miles.


By road

Follow signs to Poole Quay or Sandbanks. To access Poole Harbour from the west take the A35/A350 Dorchester-Poole road. From the east take the A31 Ringwood-Poole road. From the north take the A3081/A350 Shaftesbury-Poole road.

Parking: Parking Poole: follow signs to visitor quayside car park, where you can use pedestrian signage to locate the quay. Sandbanks: there is limited metered road parking available on the peninsular leading up to the ferry and a large Sandbanks beach car park ten minutes walk from the Sandbanks jetty where the boats depart. Phone and Pay code is 3262, http://www.phoneandpay.co.uk/howitworks. The car park next to the Sandbanks ferry is limited to one hour so not appropriate for a Brownsea Island visit.

SatNav: Postcodes for Sat Nav: Sandbanks Jetty, BH13 7QJ and Poole Quay, BH15 1HP.


On foot

From pay and display car parks, follow the pedestrian signage to Poole Quay or Sandbanks.


Seahorse landing craft

The Seahorse can transport visitors using wheel chairs, quickly and safely to the island. Pickup location is from the Sandbanks Yacht Company slipway (near Sandbanks Jetty) and its an easy 10 minute journey to the island. The service is tide and weather dependent, so to check out sailing times and prices, please head to the ‘Our Work’ section of our website or call 01202 707744.

Brownsea Island Map

About the artist:

Michael Pinsky