In Beijing, Chinese Artist Made Brick Out of Unlikely Element

In Beijing, Chinese Artist Made Brick Out of Unlikely Element

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The Chinese capital of Beijing suffers from serious air pollution. Primary sources of pollutants include exhaust emission from Beijing's more than five million motor vehicles, coal burning in neighboring regions, dust storms from the north and local construction dust. The problem has gotten so bad, that the Chinese government has issued its first ever "red alert" over the city’s smog, with the Chinese capital going into shutdown in an attempt to protect people from the deadly air.
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Many Chinese citizens are extremely concerned about the pollution levels. Some are even figuring out different ways to increase public awareness of the problem. Meet Chinese performance artist, "Nut Brother."
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While most residents of Beijing are staying inside their homes to hide from the heavy air pollution in the city, Chinese artist, "Nut Brother," has been walking around the city streets with an industrial-size vacuum cleaner. He has been walking around each day for 4 hours, 100 days in a row. The performance artist has been making a public statement about the serious problem China faces with toxic air pollution. He gets this message across by using his vacuum cleaner to collect the thick air pollution smog and turn the dust he collects into a brick.
The Daily Buzz Photo Credit: Source
Since late July, Nut Brother, has been walking around Beijing streets with his large vacuum and the suction nozzle held high collecting the city's air-borne dust. He would sometimes wear a respirator mask during his walks to protect himself from the air pollution. On November 30th, which was the 100th day of his art project, he mixed all the dust he collected with clay and brought it to a brick factory to create a semi-finished brick. The final steps for the completion of the brick art piece will be drying and molding it into a brick shape.
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Nut Brother has lived in Beijing for years and has seen the increasing catastrophic problem to China caused by the polluted air. The Chinese artist told Quartz, "Air in Beijing is bad all over, there is no special supply of air." He hopes through this performance art that the people of China will finally think more about protecting their environment and better understand their relationship between human and nature.
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Nut Brother visited heavily trafficked areas in Beijing with his large vacuum to garner attention from crowds. He traveled from Tiananmen Square to the Ministry of Environmental Protection to Beijing's hutongs (old lanes) all the way to the Bird's Nest national stadium, vacuuming up the air surrounding him. Most of the time on his walks, Beijing residents simply mistook the artist as merely a cleaner or air monitoring person. Every day on his walk, he would document on his Sina Weibo account the date, the weather, and the area he was vacuuming. He would also include a photo of himself that he asked onlookers to take.
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Although Nut Brother's work has gotten a lot of attention in China, some are still skeptical about how the brick he created can really be made of smog. Some commentators are concerned that his performance art may be a bit too gimmicky, but this doesn't deter Nut Brother. The artist told Quartz that what he got at the end of his project was a mixture of dust and smog that weighed about 100 grams. He then added clay to the mixture so that it would come out to the shape of a brick. Nut Brother admits that the resulting brick may not look any different than normal ones, but that isn't the point. The brick is meant to be a symbol.
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Nut Brother now wants to give his completed smog brick to a construction site so that it can be part of a new building in Beijing. The artist says he wants the brick to disappear into the concrete jungle of China's mega-city. He likens the idea for his brick to "putting a drop of water in the ocean." Despite his skeptics, Nut Brother hopes that his performance art project will get more people talking about the serious issue China is facing. He laments, "Air pollution is a problem faced by everybody. It is our right to breathe in fresh air, and right now, we're being deprived of that right."
H/T- QUARTZ, CNN

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