Ai Weiwei Continues Scathing Critique of State Power In Original Music Video

The infamous Chinese artist and political activist, Ai Weiwei, explores brand new territory – music – with a video commenting on his detainment and 81-day stay in prison. Weiwei was arrested by the Chinese government in 2011, supposedly for tax evasion, as part of a crackdown on political dissent. Much of his subsequent work has been inspired by the detainment and earlier this year, a play by Howard Brenton recalled the events. Now, Weiwei’s new video for his heavy metal song Dumbass offers a more direct comment on the reality of his imprisonment. The music video depicts two emotionless prison guards who watch Ai as he eats, sleeps, paces, showers, and even sits on the toilet, in a cleverly constructed metaphor designed to mock state power.

"This is dedicated to all those people who do not have the opportunity to raise their voice, who will never be able to raise their voices," Ai said about the video. "This is not just one generation. In the past 60 years there have been innumerable amounts of people who have been killed or taken away from their homes, even tortured to death."

The vocal parts of the song, entirely in Mandarin, are performed by Weiwei himself. The artist has said that he finds music therapeautic and helpful in finding relief from the memory of his arrest. The music was composed by Zuoxiao Zuzhou, a Beijing-based heavy-metal artist and friend of Weiwei's, who has also experienced several run-ins with the government. The video was shot in Beijing with the help of renowned cinematographer Christopher Doyle, who has shot films for Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai, among other renowned filmmakers.


Contactmusic

Tags: Atmosphere

Advertisement

More Atmosphere

Americans Stand Out in 'Booker Prize Shortlist', But Can They Win?

U.S writers dominated the talk after the announcement of the Man Booker Prize shortlist for 2014, with both Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler nominated...

You Can't Copyright A Monkey Selfie, So Don't Try

In news altogether insignificant for the world’s population of monkeys, but bad for the British photographer attempting to claim ownership of a self-portrait taken by...

Richard Dawkins on Down's Syndrome Babies, "Abort it and Try Again"

Richard Dawkins, one of the world's foremost scientists, thinkers and philosophers, is embroiled in a Twitter row after claiming it would be "immoral" to carry...

Atmosphere - Vevo All Access: Atmosphere Video

Slug from Atmosphere talks about his pre-show rituals ahead of his appearance at Outside Lands Festival 2014.

Advertisement

Seaworld Finally Admits That 'Blackfish' Hurt Profits and Attendance

Blackfish, the celebrated, award-winning documentary focussing on the captivity of Tilikum, an orca involved in the deaths of three individuals, and the consequences of keeping...

Hey Who Wants to Stay In A Hotel Where it Costs $500 To Leave a Bad Review?

For most hotels, the way to stop bad reviews is to increase the level of service, spruce the place up a bit and have a...

Soon, People Will Be Walking Around Smoking E-Joints

If E-Cigarettes satisfy the cravings of smokers attempting to quit, then the E-Joint satisfies those who want to smoke marijuana without the health risks attached...

Amazon Fire Phone: Everything You Need To Know

Retail giants Amazon have already entered the content streaming, e-reader, tablet and remote computing markets, so it was only a matter of time before they...

Advertisement

Comments

Atmosphere Newsletter

Subscribe to this news alert service to receive news and reviews on Atmosphere

Unsubscribe | Unsubscribe All