Ai Weiwei, China’s most famous dissident-artist, once barred from social media, gains a new platform.
Ai Weiwei continues to speak out despite a number of setbacks in his ongoing battle with Chinese officials. On 25 October 2012, online “knowledge forum” Big Think announced that they will host a blog authored by the Chinese dissident artist titled “The Way of Ai Weiwei”.
Big Think aims to give the artist a platform to continue his advocacy of human rights and freedom of speech, calling Ai “the most important artist alive”. The blog will feature “original content by the artist himself, including in-depth video interviews shot in his Beijing studio”.
Click here here to read the first dispatch by Ai Weiwei on his Big Think blog.
New platform, established voice
Big Think states that this will be Ai’s first blog since Chinese officials shut down his original blog and Twitter profile in 2009. After his detention in spring of 2011, Ai was banned from speaking to the press or using any form of social media, though within two months he had already reopened both his Twitter and his Google+ accounts, both of which he updates regularly.
In August 2012, Ai told Foreign Policy that he considers Twitter more of a home than Beijing, sentiment that is perhaps not too surprising as the summer and fall of 2012 saw the official rejection of his tax evasion appeal, the shuttering of his art production company and the continuation of his restrictions on leaving China.
Ai Weiwei at the movies
In addition to the announcement of a number of high-profile exhibitions, including a showing at the Venice Biennale, Ai has been appearing in cinemas worldwide. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, a documentary by director Alison Klayman that chronicles the artist’s ongoing struggles with Chinese authorities, debuted in January 2012 at the Sundance Film Festival.
More recently, the movie has been touring the film festival circuit in Asia. In October 2012 alone, the documentary screened at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, the Mumbai Film Festival and the Taiwan International Documentary Film Festival (where it won a Special Mention in the international documentary category). The film will also be shown at the Hong Kong Asian Film Festival on 3, 5 and 7 November 2012.
- Disappointment at home, success abroad for Ai Weiwei – news round up – October 2012 – a flurry of activity surrounding Ai Weiwei
- Ai Weiwei’s archeological Serpentine Pavilion finds success among ruins – June 2012 – Ai teams up with architectural collaborative for a uniquely conceptual pavilion
- Ai Weiwei wins White Box award for “defending human rights against oppression” – May 2012 – Ai’s humanitarian artwork comes at a high price; he still cannot leave Beijing
- Political spectre looms over Ai Weiwei Taiwan exhibition – round up – February 2012 – critical response to Ai’s Taipei art museum retrospective
- Ai Weiwei’s anthropomorphic army: 12 Zodiac Heads storm Somerset House London – June 2011 – a seminal work from Ai that comments on East-West interaction tours the world
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