“The controls are very strong,” Ai told Reuters by telephone. “They (the government) are very insecure, they are not ready for any kind of change.”
BEIJING — I moved to China almost a year ago now, into a country where I knew no one and where even the internet was foreign. I pulled away from my main social circle geographically, but did what I could do stay connected via the internet and phone.
And yet, just as I turned to the internet for social connection, I also realized it was increasingly difficult to rely on my usual circles. Timezones, the Great Firewall and the weak internet connection in my neighborhood all made me realize that the utopian ideal of global connection was far from being achieved.
Chances are if you’ve been following art news in the past few weeks, you’ve seen the name Ai Weiwei. Ai’s been all over the place lately, having a public conversation with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, getting interviewed on CNN about the role of social media in Chinese politics, and documenting recent artist protests in Beijing. The artist was even announced as the eleventh commission for the London Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall installation series, a run of exhibitions featuring such luminaries as Doris Salcedo, Rachel Whiteread and Olafur Eliasson.