Friday, December 14, 2012

How to Take Ai Weiwei With You Wherever You Go

During the height of the Cultural Revolution in China, leader Mao Zedong wanted his thoughts spread to every corner of the country. Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung (aka, “The Little Red Book”) found its way into the pockets and consciousness of every Chinese citizen. Mao’s oppressive, all-controlling vision continues to overshadow Chinese life, but a new pocket-sized book hopes to shine a light in the midst of the darkness. Ai Weiwei’s Weiwei-isms (edited by Larry Warsh and published by Princeton University Press) aims to spread Ai Weiwei’s ideas of freedom and expression across not just China, but the world, by collecting the artist’s best bon mots from interviews, articles, and even tweets. “But censorship by itself doesn’t work,” the artist says of the Chinese government’s many efforts to silence him. “It is, as Mao said, about the pen and the gun.” In turning the memory of Mao around in a positive direction, Ai Weiwei makes it once more “about the pen and the gun,” but mixes in the unforeseen, excitingly uncontrollable element of social media. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "How to Take Ai Weiwei With You Wherever You Go."

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