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Ai Weiwei

In: English and Literature

Submitted By stacyssmith
Words 2779
Pages 12
Stacy S. Smith
Professor Z. Lowe
English 1302
November 17, 2013
Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei is an internationally celebrated Chinese artist whose voice is heard loudly through his art. He believes in freedom of expression and despises the Chinese Government’s power. Ai’s contemporary style comes in many forms; Sculpture, architecture, installation, film and photography, are only some of his great talents; his art exposes the very real hardships of the Chinese people and how their culture has been muted over time. The government has become such a major influence and has gained so much power that at one point they convinced the people to destroy their cultural reminders in hopes that they will leave behind an insignificant past.
Ai Weiwei was born the 18 of May 1957 to father Ai Qing and mother Gao Ying. Ai Qing was well known throughout China for his very forward poetry. Qing would later be considered a liberal who spoke out by joining a very left wing Artist Association and in doing so he was subsequently arrested in the early 1930’s, this decision cost he and his family to be sentenced to live in a labor camp. For the first eighteen years of Ai Weiwei’s life was spent in Xinjiang and later they would be removed to Gobi Desert (with even worse conditions) then back again to Xinjiang before being released in 1975. Life was very hard for the family during this long period of time.
The year of 1975, brought with it great change for their entire Weiwei family, they were allowed to return home to Beijing and in the year of 1978, Ai Qing would be absolved of his crime and Ai Weiwei would enroll in Beijing’s Film Academy. In 1978 Ai Weiwei along with other well-known Chinese artist started an art group call “Stars.” The art group broke up in 1983 and later, Ai Wei wei would move to the United States after spending four years in Beijing, for the next ten years Ai would call New York home. During this period in Ai’s career he worked on conceptual art by reconfiguring ordinary objects. He would take every day iconic imagery and alter its appearance to remind himself and his viewers of how not everything will remain static. Ai Weiwei and many others are ready for a change of pace. He attended school at Parsons School of Design and at the Art Students League of New York. (p.54)
During Ai Weiwei’s time in New York he became very involved in the art scene; he loved to collaborate with many artists of all back grounds. His first exhibition in 1998 would be called “Old Shoes Safe Sex” this exhibition was to bring attention to the newly growing Aid’s epidemic and homelessness (p.11). In 1990 Ai would return to Beijing to be with his align father, how would later die in 1993. While back in Beijing he published three books about new artist in the making: Black Cover Book (1994), White Cover Book (1995), and Gray Cover Book (1997). (p.2) The time that Ai spent in New York, allowed him to experience true freedom and democracy. That experience has become a part of him; going back to Beijing he realized the oppression of Chinese people. Artists were only allowed to show what the government approved; freedom of expression was very dead in China. 1995 Ai was photographed dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, he would also display Neolithic Vases that he had painted over; his thoughts on this was “this same destruction happens every day without our ever thinking about it” (Ai Weiwei Never Sorry Film by Alison Klayman). The act of dropping a Han Dynasty urn to the floor is the same as destroying 2,000, years of culture tradition and legacy. Ai and Feng Boyi together curated a Contemporary exhibition in Shanghai, China. The exhibit proved to be very edgy, and the Chinese people loved it. It was called “Fuck Off”. Many artists worked on this project; shows the attitude for change by the Chinese people. In response to Ai Weiwei’s negative criticism several government officials and figure heads have turned an abusive hand to Ai Weiwei and his fellow art contributors. The local police went to such lengths as finding him and his friends asleep in a hotel and holding them ransom so that they could not testify at a mutual friends trial. Ai later would go on to work on many other projects like Jinhua architecture Park; he also designed a home for collectors Christopher Tsai and Andre’ Stockamp, out of New York (p.55). The New York Times, called the home “extraordinarily refined.”(p.60) in the year 2006, Ai spoke at the World Economic Forum’s meeting and was given the title, Innovation and Design Strategy. In 2009, the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design selected the home for its International Architecture Awards, one of the world’s most prestigious global awards for new architecture, landscape architecture, interiors and urban planning. (p.3)
Ai Weiwei was fascinated with architecture and even designed his own studio/home in the late 90’s. Ai’s installations and Exhibitions have spanned our earth from coast to coast “Ai’s artwork has been exhibited in Australia, Europe, North and South America (p.3).
Ai is always drawing our attention to the usefulness of an object and telling a story along with his art. Ai also has a profound way of having you feel the experience of the Chinese lives through his art. I have never been to China, but as I have studied his art, I feel as though I’m experiencing their struggle. He has felt that art should not be only for hierarchy of society, but also available to ordinary people and in doing so he has become some-what of a vigilante toward the Chinese government.
May 12, 2008 a 7.9 earth quake hit China’s town of Sichuan, it decimated the town and collapsed many buildings including several poorly built schools, killing more than 90,000 people of which 5,000 were children. Ai visited the site soon after the earth quake. He was so moved by the destruction and pain of his people and out raged by the Chinese government’s lack of empathy. The government did not like the negative publicity which led them to making the investigation on the schools illegal which indirectly led to Ai’s involvement. Ai Weiwei and a few of his artist created a side project Called the "Citizens' Investigation", it aimed to compile a list of students killed in the earthquake he would then make public twitter announcements and make blogs in honor of the lost students. Chinese authorities were outraged they went to such measures as discrediting him and taking down his blog sites and removing his twitter posts. He also made investigative researches to publicly make the knowledge of the poor construction of the schools by the Chinese government. Ai would purchase and use the steel rebar that came from the rubble of the school house. In his 2008 exhibition, Wenchuan Steel Rebar was use as a response to the fact; that no one was ever held accountable for the shoddy construction. He and a team of craftsmen would heat and straighten the rebar. He also has an installation of children’s backpacks winding along and suspended from the ceiling in his 2009, Snake Ceiling exhibition. 2010, Ai use a school desk with an empty chair next to it, installed a laptop computer on top of the desk, displaying the names of the victims on the screen. Ai would go on to say “These people have cried a lifetime’s worth of tears. In their hearts, they know that the precious lives they gave everything to protect are no longer.” (p.19)
One of Ai’s largest and most admired works is the 2008 Olympic Stadium in Beijing, China. He and a group of architects, Herzog and de Meuron designed the Beijing National Stadium, also referred to as the “Birds Nest”. His dream of the stadium was for it to be seen as a “structure of freedom and change, not a global nation led by Communist Party” (p.29). Ai kept an account of the construction of the Birds nest while being built. Mainly the pictures only depict the construction minus the construction workers. His point is that there are many people’s lives involved and invested in our society no matter what you are viewing. His next project would be called “Fairy Tale”. Ai took 1,001 Chinese citizens to Kassel, Germany. He chose individuals ranging from ordinary villagers, to art students. In the documentary he filmed the lives of these ordinary people and all of their personal experiences of being flown to a new country and working together on this group project. Many had never ventured outside of their villages or towns. One girl did not even have a name, so she had to obtain a name in order to gain a passport. “The following words of Ai offer further insight into his feelings regarding “names” A name is the first and final marker of individual rights, on the fixed part of the ever-changing human world. A name is the most primitive characteristic of our human rights; no matter how poor or how rich, all living people have a name, and it is endowed with good wishes, the expectant blessings of kindness and virtue.”(p.20)
Ai chose the extra “1” in “1,000” to shed light on the relationship between an individual and a whole group. Somewhat like pieces of a puzzle; you see the complete picture, but not always paying attention to the individual pieces that make up the picture. They are all very unique, with different shapes and colors. Ai covered the floor of Tate Hall at the Tate Modern with 100 million sunflower seeds; each one of the seeds was made of porcelain and hand painted, then placed on the floor. When you come into the room you see an array of sunflower seeds, but each one is unique just like the individual who painted it.
Ai Weiwei, is an advocate for the 1.3 billion individuals who reside in China. He feels that the Chinese government has too much power. The government officials are able to come in take your land, and destroy historical sites without ever considering what the people of China may want are need. The communist party in China even controls their freedom of speech through internet censorship and the removal of antiestablishment views. “In He Xie, a new work, Ai metaphorically represents the restriction of individual expression and free speech in Chinese society. He Xie literally means “river crab,” but it also a homophone for the word meaning “harmonious,” which is used in the Chinese Communist Party slogan “the realization of a harmonious society.”(p.133) In China there are is no such thing as individual expression and freedom of speech. This is proof through Ai Weiwei and the lives of other Chinese people who have chosen to stand up for civil rights in China. Ai has been arrested, beaten, and kidnapped by the Chinese Government. He was severely injured and documented the whole experience. Several authority figures turned him away and refused his basic rights as a citizen of Beijing. One of the contributing reasons why Ai Weiwei was detained was because he made public jibes about the Chinese government and his disdain for The Beijing Olympics. Ai Weiwei believes that the Olympics have oppressed the life of the general public, several documentaries have shown the local police brutalities and how people were forced to comply and evacuate their homes in recognition of the Olympics. It was a gruesome display of how the government only cares for its publicity and has gone to such lengths as funding the Olympics with the latest technologies and supplying a security support staff of 700,000 guards to help guard and perform in the Olympics," he told the press that all of this was “was merely a stage for a political party to advertise its glory to the world," he stated that
"He became disenchanted because he realized he was used by the government to spread their patriotic education. Since the Olympics, I haven't looked at (the stadium)," he said. It is kind of sad to realize how Weiwei was used by the government to basically show that they are able to keep up with the global economic trends. In retrospect I find that in a way that his work was turned against him which could have been a completely intentional. His work now has completely changed meanings to him and he openly denounces it. Later on Weiwei found himself making daily blogs, he would send daily post and pictures to Twitter about random acts of social injustice. Ai soon found himself kidnapped by undercover Chinese officials, during this 81 day length of time no one had knowledge as where to find him. Ai’s activism has made him a thorn in the side of China's communist political figures and authorities. Ai Weiwei disappeared and was believed to have been taken into custody for 81 days in 2011.
The entire world was looking for him; even Hillary Clinton spoke on national television about his abduction. Several members of the liberal speaking Chinese public spoke out in protest of this social injustice, they picketed outside of major buildings and held rallies where people would grab megaphones and demand that the officials release Ai Weiwei. Six months later he was released with bogus tax evasion charges. I believe in a way this was a tactic to scare Weiwei and his family into hiding, the government officials realized that the he possessed a public voice that was too powerful, I believe they feared that his voice would encourage people to no longer stand for the abuse. He has been placed under house arrest with very strict regulations. He could not speak about anything that was going on, he was not allowed to make any type of public announcement as to his location on Twitter or anything slanderous about the Chinese government. They have placed a surveillance camera outside of his home and watch his every move. They even paid a Sixteen year old boy to drive a minivan and park it outside of his home to keep an additional eye on him. The boy has been stationed outside his home for days. In response to all of this feedback Ai Weiwei continues to use his art as a way to speak out about human rights, he implores that people stand up for their personal beliefs. Ai Weiwei believes that in order for people to live as individuals they have to struggle and rise up against their tyrannical government. His life is so controversial that every event within it, alters the shape of the art and man you see. Ai’s art is a part of him and the people of China. He only asks for the right to freedom of expression. In some ways I feel he speaks for us all; wither government suppression or suppression of oneself. His life continues on an incredible journey that I hope we can all learn from. “Freedom of expression is a very essential condition for me to make art. Also, it is an essential value for my for my life. I have to protect this right and also to fight for the possibility. (p.5)
Ai Weiwei’s, first American exhibition started in October of 2013, although he was unable to be at the first showing due to restrictions placed on him by the Chinese government. Ai Weiwei, continues to be, both provocative and extremely vocal through his art even today. “Ai Weiwei: According to What?” opens at Hirshorn in Washington D.C. on October 7. The exhibit will run through February 24, 2013. The fact that Wei Wei’s work is now being shown internationally is outstanding I believe that it speaks on so many levels. People should not be putting up with this type of abuse and no government should have this kind of power over its people. I believe that Weiwei has made a profound impact in the art world and will continue to inspire people from all nations to be activist and to help promote the general well-being of all people.

Works Cited Ai, Weiwei, and Deborah E. Horowitz. Ai Weiwei: According to What? = Ai Weiwei. Washington, D.C.: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 2012. Print.

Ai, Weiwei, and Larry Warsh. Weiwei-isms. Princeton, New Jersey, 2013. Print

Klayman, Allison. Ai Weiwei Never Sorry. Sundance institute Documentary.2012.Video Documentary…...

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...business. [edit]Software architecture of a modern AIS A modern AIS typically follows a multitier architecture separating the presentation to the user, application processing and data management in distinct layers. The presentation layer manages how the information is displayed to and viewed by functional users of the system (through mobile devices, web browsers or client application). The entire system is backed by a centralized database that stores all of the data. This can include transactional data generated from the core business processes (purchasing, inventory, accounting) or static, master data that is referenced when processing data (employee and customer account records and configuration settings). As transaction occur, the data is collected from the business events and stored into the system’s database where it can be retrieved and processed into information that is useful for making decisions. The application layer retrieves the raw data held in the database layer, processes it based on the configured business logic and passes it onto the presentation layer to display to the users. For example, consider the accounts payable department when processing an invoice. With an accounting information system, an accounts payable clerk enters the invoice, provided by a vendor, into the system where it is then stored in the database. When goods from the vendor are received, a receipt is created and also entered into the AIS. Before the accounts payable department pays the......

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Ai Robot

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