Smog in Beijing is so bad someone made a brick out of it

Artist ‘Nut Brother' spent four hours a day, for 100 days, using a vacuum cleaner to collect dust from the city's toxic pollution cloud

Tom Brooks-Pollock
Thursday 03 December 2015 08:32 GMT
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Nut Brother with his brick made of smog
Nut Brother with his brick made of smog (Nut Brother)

A performance artist has used particles hoovered up from Beijing’s toxic smog-cloud to create a brick, to draw attention to the Chinese capital’s ‘airpocalypse’.

‘Nut Brother’, otherwise known as 34-year-old Beijing resident Wang Renzheng, spent four hours a day, for 100 days, using a vacuum cleaner to collect dust from the city's toxic pollution cloud.

Nut Brother and vacuum cleaner, in Beijing
Nut Brother and vacuum cleaner, in Beijing (Nut Brother)

Since July, Nut Brother’s vacuum cleaner has toured some of Beijing’s most famous sites, including the hutongs (old lanes), Tiananmen Square, the Bird’s Nest national stadium and the Ministry of Environmental Protection.

On the 100th day, 30 November, the artist mixed the collected dust with clay before taking it to a brick factory – to make a semi-finished brick.

Nut Brother and his vacuum cleaner at the Bird's Nest stadium
Nut Brother and his vacuum cleaner at the Bird's Nest stadium (Nut Brother)

In a few days, it will be finished, and stuck in a kiln to be dried and fired.

Schoolchildren in the city have been kept indoors in recent days, while others ended up in hospital with breathing difficulties, as Beijing grappled with a huge cloud of pollution made up of carcinogenic PM2.5 particulates - measuring more than 200,000 square miles.

(Nut Brother)

Notwithstanding some quibbling on social media over how far his brick differs from an ordinary clay brick, Nut Brother told Quartz he came up with the project as a way of enhancing his compatriots’ "relationship between human and nature".

"Air in Beijing is bad all over," he added. "There’s no special supply of air."

Nut Brother wants to take the finished brick to a building site to form of an actual building, "just like putting a drop of water in the ocean".

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