Pimped Pollution Masks – China

A pollution mask evokes all the bitter realities of humankind’s toxification of the planet. The industrialised world has pumped noxious chemicals into the atmosphere with little consideration or compassion. The hideous disfigurement of our environment, the rising sea levels, the blistered ozone layer, the mutated people – all written off as collateral damage in the big picture. A big picture that’ll soon see a tiny elite ruling over a world of wheezing cancer riddled masses.

If we are to choose one foreboding image of our continued chemicalisation of the planet, it would be a solitary person roaming a dystopian decaying world, naked, but for a pollution mask; the last frontier of healthcare in post apocalyptic destitution.

But hold on, pan the cameras – zoom in – what’s that little design on the mask? Whoa, it’s a pretty tiger! Turn the lights back on, the world just started spinning again. This is the kind of resolve that’ll get the gears of humanity grinding again. Our capacity for ingenuity in the face of adversity, it’s surely the reason we’ll beat these climate challenges. We’re at the tipping point for our next genesis and you can’t put a price on the contribution of pollution mask art.

Well, you can: approximately 50c per unit. But turning a negative into a positive, switching this precautionary medical face hood into a bold fashion statement – that’s the spirit. Invigoration via art. And there’s no place better to don a Pimped Pollution Mask than in Beijing, the epicentre of air poison. They say in London that you’re never more than a few feet from a rat – well, in Beijing you’re never more than a few breaths away from bronchial failure. The swirling chemical funk runs unabated through the city; the grey smog has a plague like presence. There is no option but wear a pollution mask to filter the gunk and save your lungs from being desiccated into small dried currents with the radiation hum of a Chernobyl x-ray facility.

But rather than wallow behind their surgical masks, the Chinese have delved into their artistic cavities and dredged up a strain of Fashion. Intricate designs of animals, patterns, even designer knock offs of Louis Vuitton and Gucci now adorn the masks

Art intimates life, and fashion – the rabid offspring of art – appears in unlikely places.

Welcome to the post apocalyptic catwalk of downtown Beijing.

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