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New CommunicationAi Weiwei
In one of his first on-camera interviews following his release from detention in 2011, Ai Weiwei discusses the potential for artists to express themselves online and encourages artists to be more aware of shifts in social media. This episode is filmed in Ai’s Beijing studio—where the artist uses Twitter on a daily basis to share ideas, question authority, and create dialogue—with Mandarin Chinese tweets translated into English.More information and credits
Producer: Ian Forster. Consulting Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Phil Tinari. Camera: Takahisa Araki. Sound: Lin Hau. Editor: Morgan Riles. Artwork Courtesy: Ai Weiwei. Tweet Translation: @aiwwenglish & @hlkalin. Additional Translation: Amy Qing Lin. Theme Music: Peter Foley.
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An outspoken human rights activist, Ai Weiwei infuses his sculptures, photographs, and public artworks with political conviction and personal poetry, often making use of recognizable and historic Chinese art forms in critical examinations of a host of contemporary Chinese political and social issues. In his sculptural works he often uses reclaimed materials—ancient pottery and wood from destroyed temples—in a conceptual gesture that connects tradition with contemporary social concerns. He also employs sarcasm, juxtaposition, and repetition to reinvigorate the potency and symbolism of traditional images and to reframe the familiar with minimal means.
“During the days in detention, I thought most about the moon.”