China artist makes solid brick from Beijing smog

As a statement on the environmental impact of his country’s rush to develop, a Chinese artist has made a solid brick out of the dust and particulate he collected while walking around the capital, Beijing, waving the nozzle of a vacuum cleaner in the air.

Calling himself "Nut Brother", the artist collected the particulate matter over 100 consecutive days ending on 29 November.

The next day he baked the gunge he’d collected into a brick, which he intends to use asa building material to reflect how economic development affects human life.

According to newspaper China Daily, Nut Brother used a battery-powered industrial vacuum cleaner able to suck up airborne particles with a diameter over 0.2 microns.

The machine, which can be used for four days on one charge, draws 234 cubic metres per hour – equivalent to how much air 62 people breathe in a single day.

On the day he baked the brick Beijing authorities maintained an "orange" pollution alert, the second-highest level, Reuters reported.

Highways were closed, construction projects suspended, and people were warned to stay indoors.

Smog levels in northern China soar over winter as urban heating systems are switched on. Low wind speeds mean that polluted air is not dispersed.

In an introduction to his project, entitled "Dust Plan", the artist wrote, "Our city is becoming a city crowded by cars, surrounded by the chemical engineering industry…We make more dust when we ask for more resources. We will finally turn into dust when all resources on the earth are used up."

Photograph: Smog so thick you can make a brick: Artist "Nut Brother" with the brick he made from Beijing smog (ChinaFotoPress/Getty)

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  1. Whilst the Chinese Construction Team are out conquering the world on person is cleaning up there environmental mess at home

  2. This man need be taken seriously by authorities everywhere. Not only in China. It should not be dismissed as a publicity stunt. Those of us living in western countries are beclouded by an ‘invisible’ smog that will only reveal itself in time.

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