An artist spent three months sucking up city air with a vacuum, and here’s the nasty result.

The air pollution in China is so bad it’s thought that some 4,400 people die prematurely every day from breathing it. And now it can kill you by landing on your head, too, as a man has found a way to transform Beijing’s infamous smog into an actual brick.

The 30s-something artist who goes by “Nut Brother” spent three months sucking up foul air in Beijing with an industrial vacuum cleaner. By late November, he’d accumulated enough particulate matter to make a hefty, presumably horrible-smelling building block. Here’s more from Shanghaiist:

According to NetEase, Nut Brother's industrial vacuum has 1,000 watts of maximum power and can suck up as much air as 62 people can breath in a day. It lasts for four days on just a single charge and is great at cleaning large spills on the go.

Each day, Nut Brother had someone take a photo of him walking around Beijing and then posted it on his Weibo account.

Yesterday, Nut Brother visited a brick factory and had all the particles he collected smushed into a single brick. He says that he hopes the brick will be used to help build something in the city.

Until this smog-brick is verified by scientists or a major art museum I’ll harbor a few lingering doubts about Nut Brother’s project. But to judge from this NASA image from Monday, the dirty air in China does seem to have a heavy, almost moldable quality:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Environment

    A 13,235-Mile Road Trip for 70-Degree Weather Every Day

    This year-long journey across the U.S. keeps you at consistent high temperatures.

  2. a photo of a police line barricade in front of a sidewalk
    Transportation

    What We Fight About When We Fight About Parking

    The urban economist Donald Shoup collects reports of violence that erupts over parking spaces. To him, disputes between drivers are signs of a bigger problem.

  3. Design

    Paris Will Create the City's Largest Gardens Around the Eiffel Tower

    The most famous space in the city is set to get a pedestrian-friendly redesign that will create the city’s largest garden by 2024.

  4. Opponents of SB 50.
    Equity

    Despite Resistance, Cities Turn to Density to Tackle Housing Inequality

    Residential “upzoning” policies being adopted from Minneapolis to Seattle were once politically out of the question. Now they’re just politically fraught.

  5. A sign tells passersby to "Go Green This Winter."
    Environment

    The Unintended Consequences of Green ‘Nudges’

    When participants in a study had the option of approving a behavioral “nudge” to clean energy use, their support for a carbon tax dropped.