Beijing has a smog problem. And one artist is out to solve it.
The extreme dangers caused by the blanket of pollution that veils the city recently led the Beijing Environmental Monitoring Center to warn children, the elderly and those with heart and breathing problems to stay indoors. In the past week authorities have grounded flights and closed 2,000 schools as a result of the noxious fumes.
How does one tackle such a monumental environmental mess? According to Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, the same way you’d handle a smaller mess– with a vacuum cleaner. Just a way, way bigger vacuum cleaner.
Artist, environmentalist and dreamer par excellence Roosegaarde aptly titled his fantastical system “Smog.” Smog will employ underground copper coils to suck up airborne particles using an electrostatic field; the collected particles can then be cleaned and repurposed, leaving a hole in the sky where the pollutants once lurked.
“It’s a similar principle to if you have a statically charged balloon that attracts your hair,” Roosegaarde explained to Dezeen. “If you apply that to smog, to create fields of static electricity of ions, which literally attract or magnetize the smog so it drops down so you can clean it, like an electronic vacuum cleaner.” This whimsical and potentially world-changing vision is in line with Roosegaarde’s past ideas, which include glow-in-the-dark roads and clothing that becomes transparent when you lie.
Roosegaarde first ran a successful trial of Smog inside the closed confines of a 269 square foot room, and he’s now planning to test the vision in a public park. “We always had this notion of merging nature with technology,” Roosegaarde told The Guardian. “It’s hacking the landscape, in a poetic way.” the project should launch within nine months.
You heard it here, folks — art can save the world.