Chinese artist Nut Brother (坚果兄弟) wanted to make a statement about Beijing’s pollution problems, so he spent 100 days walking the city’s foggy streets pushing an industrial vacuum cleaner. After 100 days, Nut Brother mixed his collection of vacuumed dust and smog with some clay, and made a brick from Beijing’s polluted air.
The brick, according to Nut Brother, is a tangible symbol of Beijing’s air pollution, and a reminder that environmental damage is an ongoing process that builds up every day. “The day we exhaust all of the Earth's resources, we will ourselves turn into dust,” he told Mashable.
“Air in Beijing is bad all over,” Nut Brother explained to Quartz. “There’s no special supply of air.”
According to Quartz, Nut Brother collected around 100 grams of dust and smog from Beijing’s air, and when mixed with clay, the final brick weighs several kilograms. The artist explained that he wanted the brick to be a symbol of the pollution problem, and he recognizes that, ultimately, the brick is more clay than smog. “I’m not doing any scientific research,” he told Quartz.
Nut Brother told Mashable he feels a little “numb” after spending four hours a day in the Beijing smog, but is otherwise healthy. Mashable noted that Beijing’s pollution levels recently reached their highest reading in over a year, and that, just this week, the city “upgraded its air pollution warning alert to ‘orange.’”