Online Chat with Ai Weiwei

Artist/activist Ai Weiwei, who is the target of government probes over both his accounting and his art, recently answered questions in an online chat with readers, hosted by NBC:

Comment From Karl
I just purchased your Shanghai studio print and I understand you collaborated with W magazine on a photo shoot. How is your house arrest impacting your work?

As an artist I think I live in a society in which very aspect all affect my work. If an artist is honest and open to experience in China I think China is a fast changing society, of course there may be artist still living with some ideas form last century but my interest is in current condition so the daily experience of my life is always reflected in my work, otherwise I would feel no need to produce another work and the 81-day detention have a strong impact to my life. My condition is still not totally free even the interview we are doing now is not allowed. If my art has anything to do with freedom of expression and my sensitivity and ideas to other people I think what happened in the past would have a very strong impact on my work.

After 81 days in detention, authorities forbid Ai from talking to the media upon his release, an order which he appears to be ignoring with relish. Another reader asks:

Comment From tim
I didn’t think you were allowed to talk to the press after being released from prison, what’s changed?

Ai Weiwei:
I’m not talking to press. I’m talking to people.


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