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Blogging, Art and Architecture

March 19, 2012

Ai Weiwei with rockstar Zuoxiao Zuzhou in the elevator when taken in custody by the police,Sichuan, China, August 2009 © Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei is famous not only for being an artist, architect and activist, but also for his blogging activity. In 2009 MIT Press has translated and published a representative selection of his posts with the title of Ai Weiwei’s Blog. The story is quite interesting: in 2005 Weiwei gets invited by the biggest internet platform in China (Sina.com) to start blogging there as a testimonial and opinion leader. At that time he had no experience in new medias, but that was definitely no problem. He discovered quickly that it was  a very suitable  vehicle for his work and three years later declared to devote 90% of his time to the blog. Thousands of posts with hundreds of thousands of pictures and millions of comments, but only untill Jun 1, 2009, when the local authorities decided to censor it and deleted everything from the digital archives. However the blog was already worldwide famous and his texts reblogged or published in China and abroad. As it often happens censorship succeeded in amplifying the resonance of the bloggers activity. Indeed this censorship act was far from preventing the MIT Press to publish the book and stopping the artist’s flow of communication.

Sichuan Earthquake, 2008-2010 C-print © Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei wrote about all kind of subjects: from everyday life to politically highly sensitive issues like protests taking place in Chinese cities and tragic events such as the earthquake in Sichuan (2008), criticising the attitude of the media controlled by the government to erase and remove these side of China not to damage the Olympic Games show.

Sichuan Earthquake, 2008-2010 C-print © Ai Weiwei

He also told the story about the art center commissioned by the Shanghai  local authorities to his FAKE Studio. The building was realized between 2008 and 2010. In August 2010 it was then suddenly demolished, even before the opening, without any explanation nor notice.  Somehow he got to know about it and was able to be there to witness the demolition, transforming it into a great performance, well documented by the artist. Unfortunately I was not as good as him to capture the pictures of this documentation in the exhibition…

In the best tradition of eastern martial arts, Ai Weiwei captures the violence that is directed against him and uses its energy for his own purposes. As his blog was cancelled, he quickly migrated to Twitter which is wider spread, easier to use  and less time consuming. Since a couple of days I am following him as well (@aiww) and enjoy some of his pictures in real time, even if I don’t have any idea of what is that about.

One Comment leave one →
  1. May 24, 2012 6:23 am

    informative,thank you for sharing.
    marg swarnabhoomi

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