Skip

"Cities really are mental conditions. Beijing is a nightmare. A constant nightmare."
August 30, 2011 11:50 AM   Subscribe

When Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was released from government custody it was with several conditions. Ai was slapped with a travel ban, was not to speak to the media about his detention and was banned from using social media. Since his release he has returned to Twitter, joined Google+, given an interview to a Party-run newspaper and on August 28 he published a piece in Newsweek that calls Beijing "a constant nightmare". posted by IvoShandor (17 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sweet. I don't think anyone's taken down the "Free Ai" banners that someone strung up on an abandoned gas station near here, so it'll save us the time of putting them back up when he gets vanned again.
posted by klangklangston at 11:56 AM on August 30, 2011


Google+: SEEEEEE If it's good enough for Chinese Dissident Ai Weiwei, then it's good enough for you, you whiny white lazy American whiner.
posted by symbioid at 11:57 AM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think the guy is a hero (he's an artist, so political activism isn't even part of his original job description), but the amount of coverage he gets suggests that he's sort of the token Chinese-dissident-fashion-of-the-week. Free Tibet!
posted by KokuRyu at 12:10 PM on August 30, 2011


but the amount of coverage he gets suggests that he's sort of the token Chinese-dissident-fashion-of-the-week

Sure, unless he got new and interesting coverage week after week after week for years. Guy is not a flash-in-the-pan media sensation.
His political impact is inherent in his art works in a way that reminds me of Beuys, and chances are his impact on the art world will be comparably significant.
posted by Theta States at 12:14 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know so many Chinese people - even those who were born and raised outside of the PRC who shift blame for Ai Weiwei's problems onto him. That he is a provocateur - he asks for trouble - that's is antagonism is part of selling his art.

Fuck. Just read his essay on Beijing and see what a humanist this guy is. How much love and hope he has for all of the people in Beijing - not just the wealthy or intellectual elite. This guy's a hero in my books. Who, despite the constant and scary harrassment does not back down - not as an act of rebellion - but as an act of compassion and simple puzzlement that a city can seem to hate it's own citizens so much.
posted by helmutdog at 12:20 PM on August 30, 2011 [10 favorites]


A friend said he thought the birds nest stadium was not to his liking.
"In 75 years, the trees ringing the stadium will revel the true meaning"
"...yes, a stadium that looks like a birds nest ringed by trees"
"Yes, in 75 years."
"...and?"
[smile]
posted by clavdivs at 12:26 PM on August 30, 2011


I loved Beijing when I was a student there, its probably my favorite city in the world, flaws and all.
posted by BobbyDigital at 12:47 PM on August 30, 2011


BobbyDigital: “I loved Beijing when I was a student there, its probably my favorite city in the world, flaws and all.”

I guess you can argue that a bit with Ai Weiwei.
posted by koeselitz at 12:52 PM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]




Well, it's good to see he's obeying Google's True Name Policy... So that's something.
posted by scolbath at 1:29 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Beijing article was very well written. Concise, compelling, and moving. Particularly noteworthy was a paragraph toward the end:

You’re in total isolation. And you don’t know how long you’re going to be there, but you truly believe they can do anything to you. There’s no way to even question it. You’re not protected by anything. Why am I here? Your mind is very uncertain of time. You become like mad. It’s very hard for anyone. Even for people who have strong beliefs.


I can't imagine what it's like to suffer through that and then, upon release, risk going back to it by telling the story. That takes a strength that I'm no sure that I'd have.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:53 PM on August 30, 2011 [5 favorites]


“I loved Beijing when I was a student there, its probably my favorite city in the world, flaws and all.”

Contrasted to WeiWei's piece, that seems like an awfully trite and dismissive thing to say. Experiencing a place as a visitor, and a relatively privileged one at that, is a much different experience from living in it without any kind of power or hope.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:56 PM on August 30, 2011 [11 favorites]


The Chinese, great bunch of lads.
posted by Damienmce at 4:09 PM on August 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


flaws

Your flaws are others' livelihoods.
posted by polymodus at 4:26 PM on August 30, 2011


Dont claim to speak for Ai Weiwei, but I'm sure he'll also say he loves Beijing, just hates what it has become. You can't write pieces such as this if you hate a place, such lament is only borne out of love.
posted by the cydonian at 6:58 PM on August 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


I guess this proves that Strong AI is possible.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:15 PM on August 30, 2011


What frightens me is that the world is becoming Beijing. It is the model for the future of all of us.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:50 PM on August 30, 2011 [4 favorites]


« Older One if by land, two if by sea. (SLYT)   |   Think of the costume changes... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post