Thirty seven days. Artist Ai Weiwei has been locked up by Chinese authorities for thirty seven days. Rumor is that he is being tortured and beginning to admit to his ‘crimes.’
Weiwei is priceless. Artistic installations and performances that point to a better world than one without him.
Adrien Serle writes about Weiwei’s blog writings in a recent Guardian.
I can think of no equivalent recent writing by an artist in the west, none that confronts political and social realities so eloquently or with such passion and controlled rage. Thoughtful, acerbic, angry, increasingly outspoken, the blogs cover innumerable subjects, from attempts to rescue the cats rounded up and left to starve in warehouses in the clean-up campaign before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, to architecture and design. He writes about Andy Warhol, about the destruction of China’s heritage and the unthinking cynicism and idiocies of city planners and cultural officialdom. He documents the Chinese government’s handling of the 2003 Sars epidemic, the contaminated milk scandal, the “tofu-dregs” construction of the schools that collapsed during the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake. He damns the mendacity of the Chinese media (“To call them whores would be to degrade sex workers. To call them beasts of burden would humiliate the animal kingdom”), and the hypocrisy of some Chinese public intellectuals. But there are also lighter essays on haircuts, humour, creativity and much more besides. After the closure of his blog, Ai turned to Twitter, saying that in Chinese the 140-character brevity of the form almost amounted to a novella.