Episode #160: 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.
Ai Weiwei’s position as a provocateur and dissident Chinese artist informs the tenor and reception of much of his work. He infuses sculptures, photographs, and public artworks with political conviction and personal poetry, often making use of recognizable and historic art forms in critical examinations of a host of contemporary social issues. Ai employs sarcasm, juxtaposition, and repetition to reinvigorate the potency and symbolism of traditional images and to reframe the familiar with minimal means.
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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