If you’re purchasing clean air out of a jar you either: a) have too much money on your hands, or b) need to clean up your smog-infested city before you choke to death.
Beijing artist Liang Kegang took a little piece of France home with him when he returned to Beijing with a glass jar of clean, Provence air.
Yes, that’s right: Air.
In an attempt to protest the awful pollution in his home city of Beijing, Kegang put the jar of air up for auction to a group of approximately 100 Chinese artists and collectors last month. It sold for $860.
Kegang’s recent artistic projects are meant to reflect the dissatisfaction over the air quality in China. This jar of clean air was meant to be an artistic protest, a gimmick to attract attention to the growing issue of the harmful air pollutants in China. Because the pollution is so bad, a market for dust masks and home air purifiers has emerged.
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“Air should be the most valueless commodity, free to breathe for any vagrant or beggar,” Kegang said, according to CTV. “This is my way to question China’s foul air and express my dissatisfaction.”
Another protest in March included a group of 20 Beijing artists who put on dust masks and played dead by laying on the ground in front of an alter at the city’s Temple of Heaven park.
These protests are an attempt to get the attention of the country leaders so that something can be done. Although China’s senior leaders have promised to clean the country’s air, the demands for economic development and employment must be balanced in order to maintain stability.
However, citizens are becoming increasingly vocal about the environmental issues.
“If smog cannot be effectively cleaned up, what it will leave us is death and cities of death,” artist Shao Jiajun said after a mock funeral was held as a representation of the city’s demise due to the smog.
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The jar of air that was sold to highest bidder Li Yongzheng was Kegang’s contribution to this ongoing protest.
It’s not just Kegang making money from China’s lack of clean air.
Entrepreneurs and tourism officials seem to be cashing in on the issue as well. Canned air from the scenic southwestern province was put up for sale as souvenirs for tourists.
City dwellers who were suckered into inhaling a ‘free sealed bag of the fresh mountain air’ are hooked. Some say they plan to visit the mountain resort to go and get more, and the worst part is, they’re willing to pay for it.
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