Ai Weiwei releases heavy metal music video
June 10, 2013 10:16 AM   Subscribe

Dumbass
"So many people think they can improve the situation or collaborate. I think that's very wishful thinking in this political structure. It makes people not very conscious of what's happening," he said
posted by infini (23 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I thought you were calling him a dumbass for making a heavy metal music video.
posted by goatdog at 10:32 AM on June 10, 2013


"He may not be able to sing in tune, but this, he believes, is the sound of freedom. Ai Weiwei believes every citizen with a voice should use it, and courage is not something to sacrifice." (NPR)
posted by filthy light thief at 10:37 AM on June 10, 2013


That sounds pretty awful.
posted by Sleeper at 10:46 AM on June 10, 2013


For a good perspective on this, you must see the movie.
The fact that the singing is awful is all about giving the finger to an anal totalitarian government.
Ai Weiwei got a taste for freedom from living the art scene in New York in his youth, and has taken that philosophy back to China, much to the dismay of the authorities.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:47 AM on June 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


That sounds pretty awful.
The track is not exactly Metallica: others might peg it closer to avant-garde rock. "After I said it would be heavy metal I ran back to check what heavy metal would be like. Then I thought, oh my god, it's quite different," Ai acknowledged.
It's his catharsis, sharing his "nightmares," and it's political protest. I don't think he was going for a pop hit.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:51 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


For more context, take a look at his mock ups of his time in detention, as displayed at the Venice Biennial.
posted by infini at 11:03 AM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know if anyone else noticed but the repetitive use of "The Chinese artist" rather than "The artist" or simply Ai Wei Wei, really rubbed me up the wrong way.
posted by infini at 11:06 AM on June 10, 2013


Is this the same man who smashed irreplaceable historical artifacts, or am I thinking of somebody else?
posted by Gin and Comics at 11:25 AM on June 10, 2013


Is this the same man who smashed irreplaceable historical artifacts, or am I thinking of somebody else?

Same.
posted by aught at 11:34 AM on June 10, 2013


Crapping Koi, that's good.
posted by Xurando at 11:37 AM on June 10, 2013


that's good.

What's the significance of it? I assume it's a pun.
posted by zippy at 11:46 AM on June 10, 2013


I'm waiting for the Ai Weiwei perfume line, followed shortly after by the Ai Weiwei sitcom based off Perfect Strangers that is actually a dissection of the Chinese municipal political structure. Then he will most likely construct a giant mecha suit.
posted by Theta States at 12:00 PM on June 10, 2013


I honestly don't know how he does it, I would never have gone back to China.

His father was Ai Quing, one of China's most famous modern poets. The guy was not only arrested and tortured by the Kuomintang but in the 1950s he the was publicly denounced by the Chinese communist party and exiled to Xinjiang, where Weiwei lived until he was 17.

Weiwei himself was was beaten by police in Sichuan. He undergoes surgery for a cranial hemmorage, goes back to Sichuan, finds the cop who clubbed him and tries to fight him in the street.

As far as I'm concerned he can smash whatever he wants.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:19 PM on June 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Is this the same man who smashed irreplaceable historical artifacts, or am I thinking of somebody else?

Same.


A little more about that here.
posted by DarkForest at 12:20 PM on June 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


"But the problem with Ai’s brand of provocateurism is that it isn’t really replicable. If the Nobel people had managed to lever Liu out of prison it would have been a general invitation: intellectuals, start your engines. Manifestos from all over. Movements started, maybe. But if someone else comes along and builds a giant Xi Jinping out of dead pigs, he or she will just be written off as an Ai Weiwei imitator. Been done, mate. Boring. The logic of publicity-friendly conceptual stunts militates against solidarity because the basic proposition is how you can entertain me."
posted by MartinWisse at 12:21 PM on June 10, 2013


It's his catharsis, sharing his "nightmares," and it's political protest. I don't think he was going for a pop hit.

That being said, I think it's pretty enjoyable even if it isn't technically superb or something I'd want to listen to on a regular basis.
posted by codacorolla at 12:31 PM on June 10, 2013


You know what. this post has inspired me to kick off my career as a conceptual artist. My first work will be buying Ai Weiwei's sunflower seeds from the Tate Modern and planting them in a field somwhere. Watch for the kickstarter.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:42 PM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know the sunflower seeds are porcelain, right? One hundred million of them. Each hand-painted. Each one different.
That's the point. People are unique. Why govern them as if they should be all the same?
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 1:10 PM on June 10, 2013


Perfectly missed opportunity to team up with Metallica for a record called Weiwei
posted by SomaSoda at 1:43 PM on June 10, 2013


Yeah. I was thinking about Ai Weiwei's destruction of vases as détournement.

Sure he is commenting on the cultural revoluton, the western artifacts that were burned during that time, and the tendency of totalitarian regimes to destroy the past. He is also literally devaluing a piece of art while transforming it into an educative moment.

There is only one of that vase, but there can be an infinite amount of photos of it's destruction. In a sense the act of destruction spreads an idea. I like the concept that through destruction an idea can take root an grow, much like a seed.

My take on the seeds is that it is a commentary on collectivism and China's place in world capitalism.

Maybe after I acquire them I should bag them and sell them at Walmart.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:46 PM on June 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know the sunflower seeds are porcelain, right?

I'm pretty sure they knew that.
posted by Theta States at 2:07 PM on June 10, 2013


I highly recommend the documentary about Weiwei advocating for reform after the Sichuan earthquake. It's a real antidote for any snark you may feel about his provocative art.

He witnesses a wrong - shoddy "tofu construction" leading to avoidable deaths in an earthquake, and a regional government that wants to hide this - documents it, goes up against the Chinese Government, gets beaten, and keeps on advocating for the right thing. While making art. And movies. And music. While under house arrest. While the state censors him and references to him within his homeland.

Dude's got more than a little Harrison Bergeron and Buckaroo Banzai going for him.
posted by zippy at 5:49 PM on June 10, 2013


On a lighter note, Ai Wei Wei does Gangnam style.
posted by seemoreglass at 7:46 PM on June 10, 2013


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