There are few major cities on the planet where the grim realities of the Paris climate talks are more visceral than Beijing.
And for 100 days, a Chinese performance artist dragged a wheezing, industrial-strength vacuum cleaner through its notoriously polluted streets.
The artist, known as “Nut Brother,” wasn’t focused on keeping the concrete clean. Rather, his vacuum was pointed skyward.
The target: Air pollution.
His performance seems eerily timely. Beijing suffered its worst air pollution of the year on Monday, and issued a rare orange alert. Choked with hazardous smog, air pollution has climbed up to 35 times time the World Health Organisation’s recommended safety levels, closing schools and forcing Beijing’s 22.5 million residents indoors.
But Nut Brother’s project has been in the works for sometime. He first announced his plan to collect dust from Beijing’s air (via vacuum) in July, reports Quartz.
Then, each day for 100 days, he updated his Sina Weibo account with his planned vacuuming area, along with details like the date, weather, and time.
On Monday, Nov 30th — the 100th and final day of his project — Nut Brother took all the dust he’d collected to a brick factory, where he had it mixed with clay and water to create a solid “smog brick.”
But Nut Brother cautions that the intention of his smog brick is more philosophical than truly a solution to Beijing’s air woes.
“What I’ve done is like Sisphyus rolling his giant stone,” Nut Brother told the New York Times. “There’s no use, but it can make more people think about this issue. It’s a spiritual thing.”
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