We caught up with Netherlands-based Spanish artist Lucas Munoz and his public art installation, the Delhi Lung, which was the topic of the evening at the unveiling of Publica, an initiative of Surbhi Modi and The Floodlight Foundation, in New Delhi recently. Like the other installations on view, the Delhi Lung too moves to other locations in the city after the launch.
The artist, who also calls himself a designer of “conceptual and functional objects and furniture at the edge of design” decided he wanted to create something that related to contemporary Delhi. His installation aims to trigger conversation around the rising pollution levels in the city. The spaceship-like apparatus has a homespun feel, which was intentional, says Munoz. “The 21 fans inside circulate the air, breathing through the muslin that wraps around it, with the cloth gradually getting dirtier, showing the effects of pollution.” The installation shifts to India Habitat Centre and then moves to DLF Emporio, where Munoz hopes to keep it running for a month, with it remaining active for at least 12 hours daily.
Putting together the structure was an adventure, says Munoz with a laugh, recalling hours spent in Old Delhi’s Meena Bazaar procuring the fans and with craftsman for the bamboo frame. On the Delhi pollution he admits, “I’ve been here a month. At times, I can feel it in my lungs.”
Earlier, Munoz has designed boats, chairs, lamps and speakers. His design is raw, artistic and yet functional. He enjoys working with stone, concrete and other natural materials. When he designed the Lap Chair, he asked the question “Is the lap of another person the first time we interact with the act of seating?” His speakers, meanwhile, are encased in goatskin. They work so well, he says, that “you get a fresh perception, a tactile sound that’s different from anything else”. Munoz explains, “We are all speakers. Our vocal chords find resonance in the body.”
The second edition of Publica also included works by Gigi Scaria, Anant Mishra, Owais Husain, Tushar Joag, Bhuwal Prasad, Arun Kumar HG, Rajesh Shrivastava, Rajesh Ram, among others.