A 40-ft-long cargo container will stay parked at the Piazza della Repubblica in Rome, Italy, for the next four days. Inside is an interactive art installation created by Delhi-based artist Samar Jodha as a tribute to the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.
Titled ‘Bhopal: A Silent Picture’, the project creates a simulated environment through sound, light and controlled temperature inside the container that takes the viewer through a proximate experience of what it would have been like if he or she had been present at the time the disaster struck in 1984.
Also, inside the container are eerie photographs of the sealed Union Carbide plant and video clips of the victims talking about the aftermath of the disaster.
The exhibit was set to open to the public at exactly 12.05am IST (7.35pm in Rome) on Tuesday, representing the intervening night of December 2 and 3, when the tragedy occurred 30 years ago. A live feed of visitors walking through the exhibit will be transmitted to a venue in Bhopal.
“Even today, standing in some parts of the Bhopal site for more than 20 minutes can give you a splitting headache,” says Jodha, who has been documenting the site for the past 10 years. “For me Bhopal is a metaphor that I use around the world to address common issues of concern. Bhopal, in that sense, is all around the world.”
Jodha began working on the …Silent Picture project in 2004, when a UK-based TV channel asked him to take a few pictures of the site to mark 20 years of the tragedy. After completing his assignment for the channel, he began working independently there and has shown the resultant cargo container interactive art installation in the UK, US and Switzerland since 2009.
Jodha took his exhibit to London during the 2012 Olympics, as a mark of protest against Dow Chemical Company, the parent company of Union Carbide, acting as official partner of the Games.
The project will travel to Dubai and Scandinavia next.