Ai Weiwei's final statement before his blog was shut down:
"What can they do to me? Nothing more than to banish, kidnap, or imprison me. Perhaps they could fabricate my disappearance into thin air, but they don't have any creativity or imagination. And they lack both joy and the ability to fly." ~Ai Weiwei
What a great quote. It's pretty sad and chilling that this can still happen in this day and age. I would not have thought they would hold him this long, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised now if they lock him away for good...
Nice public intervention on the sunflower seeds too...
Right. That gave me chills when I read that the first time. Talk about foreshadowing. I suppose if you mess with a hornets nest your bound to get stung. But still, some scary last words right there. In a different era, or even in contemporary China for less well known activists, he'd never turn up alive again. I really find it hard to believe he won't eventually get released, even if he's forced to serve a prison sentence of some length based on trumped up "economic crimes". This is way too much in the public eye, though, for some hugely drastic injustice to be allowed. Perhaps that just wishful thinking, as it's been a week already and the situation seems to only be getting more bleak.
It's pretty sad and chilling that this can still happen in this day and age.
That's what I keep saying....and then I think - no way they'll do him harm, not with this much global attention. But what will China care what anyone thinks? They're a global economic 800lbs gorilla - no debt issues and $2 trillion in reserves. Will anyone step up to save one human life against that? I hope so.
Can we post this info on Arrested Motion and help spread the word?
Thanks for the heads up. Worked it into a post for tomorrow about the book that was just released..
Ai Weiwei's Blog: Writings, Interviews, and Digital Rants, 2006-2009 (Writing Art)
In 2006, even though he could barely type, China's most famous artist started blogging. For more than three years, Ai Weiwei turned out a steady stream of scathing social commentary, criticism of government policy, thoughts on art and architecture, and autobiographical writings. He wrote about the Sichuan earthquake (and posted a list of the schoolchildren who died because of the government’s "tofu-dregs engineering"), reminisced about Andy Warhol and the East Village art scene, described the irony of being investigated for "fraud" by the Ministry of Public Security, made a modest proposal for tax collection. Then, on June 1, 2009, Chinese authorities shut down the blog. This book offers a collection of Ai's online writings translated into English--the most complete, public documentation of the original Chinese blog available in any language.
The New York Times has called Ai "a figure of Warholian celebrity." He is a leading figure on the international art scene, a regular in museums and biennials, but in China he is a manifold and controversial presence: artist, architect, curator, social critic, justice-seeker. He was a consultant on the design of the famous "Bird’s Nest" stadium but called for an Olympic boycott; he received a Chinese Contemporary Art "lifetime achievement award" in 2008 but was beaten by the police in connection with his "citizen investigation" of earthquake casualties in 2009. Ai Weiwei's Blog documents Ai's passion, his genius, his hubris, his righteous anger, and his vision for China.
Overnighted myself a copy today for my flight tomorrow. Available at Amazon.
Posted up some photos from the Lisson Gallery opening in London with also a giveaway for those interested. His pieces make more sense after reading the explanations.
For example, these look like normal pots but they are actually Han Dynasty vases covered industrial paint. The ironic thing is that by ruining such artifacts to prove a point, the value of them has probably increased because it was done by Ai.
C. Tangerine, is a 22 years old female student artist, she was the first Hong Kong artist using graffiti art to promote the awareness of Ai Weiwei among the island's population, by spray-painting Ai's image, with the slogan:"Who's afraid of Ai Weiwei", onto street pavement and building wall using a stencil. These actions resulted in Hong Kong police serious crime squad conducting a criminal damage investigation against her, thus turning her into an "inadvertent counterculture icon."
On April 23 2011, about 2000 people marched through Hong Kong streets to support Ai Weiwei, many of them carrying placards with images copying Tangerine's graffiti art, with many similar images being spraypainted on building walls, to protest against police heavy handed action.
screen printed poster, Edition of 50, 18x24”, $30.00
Gao said that during his time in jail, Ai was not tortured and was given food and allowed to take his medications regularly. But, she said, the conditions of his detention constituted psychological pressure.
“The room light was on 24 hours every day,” she said. “The only furniture in the room was a bed. Except for the bed, there was nothing else in the room, no chair, no desk. They didn’t offer Ai anything— no book, no newspaper, no TV, no radio, not even a piece of paper or a pen.”
Gao said the two guards watched him constantly, never speaking; the officers changed shifts every three hours.
“They stared at him without ever moving their eyes,” she said, adding that they stood close by even while he used the toilet. “And when he took a shower, they just stood right next to him, even though they were getting totally wet.
“Can you imagine the feeling of having four eyes always on you, no matter what you do?” Gao said. “If you lie down and go to sleep, they just stand at the side of the bed and look at you without a blink of the eye. When he had a walk in the room, they also followed him. These measures were designed to destroy people’s minds,” she said.
He directed the photo shoot for the cover of the November art issue of W Magazine based on some photos he took in NYC in the 80's during some protests. It will be interesting to see what he says in the interview too.