Ai Weiwei in LA – ‘Life Cycle’
Ai Weiwei (艾未未) contemplates China’s dire trajectory and his homeland’s accelerating artistic-socio-political downward spiral. His newest work reflects on the People’s Republic and its wobbly past, present and high-risk future with an emphasis on the downtrodden, environmental degradation and the economy’s Darwinian tics.
In 2012, the seditious artist said that China’s art world was a ‘banal blank space and stifling vacuum.’ He argued that in his home country, art amounts to a generic and superficial ‘consumerist offering’ devoid of deeper philosophical and metaphysical meaning. With the recent razing of his Beijing atelier/studio and the CCP casting crazy aspersions about his oeuvre, Ai shifts his focus to China’s procrustean autocrats and his country’s icky political retrogression – a place that continues to tumble down the tyrannical-fascist rabbit hole at a fast tempo.
While China’s commies continue to aggressively repress art and aesthetics, ‘Life Cycle’, Ai’s newest exhibit in LA, explores the Middle Kingdom in all its contemporaneous and cantankerous upheavals through a mythological, historical and ‘utopian’ prism with critiques of the panopticon state, the global migrant/refugee crisis, and the erosion of artistic liberties in an obscurantist and Kafkaesque country.
At the exhibit’s opening at the magnificent Marciano Art Foundation, VIVISXN listened to Ai Weiwei’s hair-raising talking points and his ruminations on his homeland’s past, present and future. Unfortunately, it’s all rather bleak, especially with regard to China’s Leviathan mindset and its Orwellian digital dystopia. Anyway, welcome to ‘Life Cycle.’ Check out Ai Weiwei’s disconcerting views below along with some awesome pics…
ON HOW CHINA EXILES ITS PEOPLE
“China has a poor human rights record. The people have no political right to vote, cannot freely express their opinions, and an independent media does not exist. Minority groups, including Tibetans and Uighurs, face particularly critical repression, with millions of them continuing to live under poor human rights conditions. This is not an issue only facing dissidents, of which there are not so many in China. Of those who are dissidents, they are either imprisoned or forced out. Using Chinese materials in Life Cycle is a way to extend our concern and to make a clear expression that bridges human consciousness with mankind’s current condition. We can only find ourselves by examining how we treat others.”
ON THE DEMOLITION OF HIS STUDIO
“What is taking place in China is very different from what is happening in the west. In totalitarian societies such as China, gentrification is not really happening because there is no private land ownership as all the land and property belongs to the state. All of the benefits belong to those in power and the common person has no rights or recourse when confronting this issue of land redevelopment. I don’t have much feeling towards losing my studio because this is not the first time. My studio is insignificant compared to the millions of other homes that have been destroyed. For some people, that is all they have and the government can take it away at any moment. When you have no laws limiting the power of those in authority or laws which protect an individual’s rights from being violated then there is simply no argument.”
ON CHINA’S SOCIAL CREDIT SYSTEM
“Authoritarians only have one thing in their minds: control. They are interested in seeing individuals as numbers, rather than as human beings, so as to take away the power of the individual. All those systems, including surveillance and censorship, are about killing creativity and differences. The entire purpose is to make it easier to enact control.”
ON THE POWER OF CHINESE MYTHOLOGY
“When we talk about the human condition, it never begins with us, but from ancient times. It has always existed in our dreams and fantasies, and in the form of poetry and mythology. For ‘Windows’, we tried to view the human condition in a more historical perspective, relating it to different traditions, technologies, and craftsmanship. Those things carry a different kind of communication. It was also important to emphasise the beauty which exists in every condition.”
ON WHY FREEDOM OF SPEECH MATTERS
“Humanity is not an empty word. It relates to personal history, the individual’s happiness and sadness, all those things which when added together can be called humanity. It is not an abstract concept. It relates to each individual and each individual’s story gives humanity its meaning. Those stories are the most important way in which we can communicate and begin to understand one another. Every individual needs to speak out and express what has happened in their lives.”
ON CLIMATE CHANGE REFUGEES
“Climate change is a man-made tragedy. Like all other tragedies, it will affect humans; both the individual and society. The future becomes clear if we don’t stop this ruthless exploitation of nature. If we don’t, we will end up a suicidal species, collapsing this beautiful miracle called Earth.”
“The refugee issue is both a global and historical issue. As long as humans have existed, and as long as humans continue to exist, this issue will persist and we have to be aware and conscious of this simple fact. Today, there are 68.5 million people that have been forced from their homes – the human condition is in a critical state. Using different materials in my latest show is a way to extend our concern and to make a clear expression that bridges human consciousness with mankind’s current condition. We can only find ourselves by examining how we treat others.”
Marciano Art Foundation is at 4357 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90010 – TEL: 424 -204-7555
VIVISXN MEDIA – Ai Weiwei – 艾未未 + Art + Fashion + Tech + Music + Pop Culture + 深度学习 + AI + Machine Learning + 音乐时尚 + 艺术 + 高科技 + 流行文化 + 大众文化 + 前卫艺术 + Marciano Art Foundation + Ai Weiwei’s ‘Life Cycle’ + New LA Exhibits + Liu Xiaobo + Digital Dystopia + Kafkaesque China + Artistic Freedom + Censorship and Art