A Chinese Anti-Smog Campaign Shows Children Crying in a Haze

kade rechteroever

The ghostly kids look like they’re suffocating in smoke.

China has a lot of experience producing smog, so it makes sense it’s also pretty good at making anti-smog art. Two cases in point: these air-quality PSAs featuring ferocious smoke animals, and now ghostly images of distressed children lurking in factory emissions.

The crying vapor-tots were projected at night by Xiao Zhu, a company that sells air purifiers. Though it may be a slick marketing ploy, the stunt carried an emotional oomph—these kids looked like they were dying. And that was the message Xiao Zhu hoped to convey, it writes at Designboom:

the country sees more than 500,000 die every year from causes related in some way to extreme levels of airborne contaminants….

in the dark of night, huge beams of light radiated skyward—and directly into the billowing plumes of various factories’ smoke. visualized on the cloud-like canvases were dozens of pictures of chinese youth, shown in numerous stages of dismay, pain, and ultimately suffocation. xiao zhu filmed the social movement and released it to the masses with a simple message with no room for interpretation, ‘clean the air. let the future breathe again.’

If the images seem familiar, perhaps it’s because you’ve seen the street art of Michigan’s Hygienic Dress League, which plays with light projections in (among other things) Detroit’s sewer steam.

Xiao Zhu

John Metcalfe
Citylab 15-06-2015