Chinese Artist Creates a Brick Made From Beijing Pollution
The artist known as Nut Brother aims to bring attention to a deadly problem.
Image via YouTube
According to authorities in China, Beijing’s pollutant levels have increased to more than 40 times the level deemed safe by the World Health Organization’s air quality index. A recent study by Berkeley Earth found that “air pollution in China kills about 4,000 people every day, [accounting for] about 17 percent of all deaths in China,” adding that “the air in Beijing is so polluted that breathing it does as much damage to the lungs as smoking 40 cigarettes a day.”
That’s why Wang Renzheng, an artist better known as Nut Brother, came up with an unusual way to illustrate the horrendous air pollution problem in Beijing. He walked its streets with an industrial-strength vacuum four hours a day for 100 days and collected all of the pollutants the vacuum pulled from of the air. Renzheng walked though Beijing’s old lanes, Tiananmen Square, and the national stadium, which held the 2008 Summer Olympics, with his vaccuum’s hose in the air and cannister rolling behind him.
After 100 days he collected a mixture of dust and smog that weighed about 100 grams, or a little more than 2 pounds. He took the contents to a local factory, mixed them with clay, and compressed them into a hard brick. It’s a graphic illustration of the dangerous debris people inhale over such a short span of time. “What I do is performance art and it does not change anything immediately,” Renzheng said. “I want to magnify the air pollution problem so that people cannot ignore it, and then take action to change it.”
(H/T The Guardian)