The brain child of Ratan Tata, head of India’s massive conglomerate, the Nano, billed as the ‘world’s most affordable car,’ has never been far from controversy.
Nevertheless it has generated a great deal of interest around the world among the public as well as automotive designers and engineers about the concept of a truly practical car for the developing world. Now the Nano, which sells for around $2,500, has become the subject of an art exhibition stateside.
Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art has put on a one-of-a-kind display which it calls ‘Unpacking the Nano – the price of the world’s most affordable car.” A bright yellow Nano is parked at the entrance to the museum, while upstairs a red one has been disassembled and various parts displayed on wire in one room, designed to appear as real life renderings of exploded shop diagrams or instruction manuals, with each of them broken down into price and weight in a social and cultural context.
Some components, such as the wiring harness are mounted on wood, symbolizing the 16 crates into which the whole exhibition can be packed.
The ideal of having a Nano display at Cornell isn’t as tenuous as you might think; Ratan Tata attended the university’s school of architecture. The exhibition runs until March 27th and like the car itself, is likely to generate plenty of controversy.