In June 2010, India’s Tata Motors began production of the world’s most affordable car: the Tata Nano. Selling for around $2,500, the Nano is financially within reach for 500 million Indians. With 250,000 produced in 2010, the Nano is poised to socially, physically, and environmentally revolutionize India—the world’s largest democracy, a nuclear power, and a place of vast and underused resources—and could spark monumental change that ripples across the globe.
Unpacking the Nano is the first exhibition in the United States to explore the car’s design and potential impact while also serving as a critical assessment of U.S. auto culture. The exhibition features a Nano dismantled and suspended in air, and assigns weight, price, and environmental impact to the 1,400-pound car. The exhibition also features an intact Nano, a Tata Motors concept vehicle consisting of two used motor scooters welded together, and a 25-foot-diameter balloon representing the Nano’s annual emissions floating in the sculpture court.
This exhibition was organized by the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, and codirected by Kent Kleinman, the Gale and Ira Drukier Dean of Architecture, Art, and Planning, and Aleksandr Mergold, visiting assistant professor of architecture. The curatorial and production team for the exhibition is made up of current and former Cornell students from a variety of disciplines.