Fresh Air Sells for $860 in China

A Chinese artist made a point about Beijing’s struggle with smog:

BEIJING (AP) — Beijing artist Liang Kegang returned from a business trip in southern France with well-rested lungs and a small item of protest against his home city’s choking pollution: a glass jar of clean, Provence air.

He put it up for auction before a group of about 100 Chinese artists and collectors late last month, and it fetched 5,250 yuan ($860).

“Air should be the most valueless commodity, free to breathe for any vagrant or beggar,” Liang said in an interview. “This is my way to question China’s foul air and express my dissatisfaction.”

1111-mel-brooks-spaceballs-perri-air-courtesy-315-304This reminds me a bit of the movie Spaceballs.  A running gag in the film was Mel Brooks’ constant deep breaths from pop-top cans of “Perri-air.”  Granted, the artist in the story above was making a statement about the lack of clean air policy in China, but it does make the point that we sometimes don’t recognize the value of something until it’s gone, and then we’re willing to go through ridiculous lengths to reclaim it.

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