Sunday, December 30, 2012

From "Weiwei-isms." By Ai Weiwei

Selection from "Weiwei-isms," by Ai Weiwei. Edited by Larry Warsh. Princeton University Press, 152 pp, ISBN-13: 978-0691157665

Living in a system under the communist ideology, an artist cannot avoid fighting for freedom of expression. You always have to be aware that art is not only a self-expression but a demonstration of human rights and dignity. To express yourself freely, a right as personal as it is, has always been difficult, given the political situation.—NY Arts, March-April 2008

Tips on surviving the regime: Respect yourself and speak for others. Do one small thing every day to prove the existence of justice.—Twitter, Aug. 6, 2009

Choices after waking up: To be true or to lie? To take action or be brainwashed? To be free or be jailed? —Twitter, Sept. 4, 2009

No outdoor sports can be more elegant than throwing stones at autocracy; no melees can be more exciting than those in cyberspace. —Twitter, March 10, 2010

Nothing can silence me as long as I am alive. I don't give any kind of excuse. If I cannot come out [of China] or I cannot go in [to China] this is not going to change my belief. But when I am there, I am in this condition: I see it, I see people who need help. Then you know, I just want to offer my possibility to help them.—The Paley Center for Media, March 15, 2010

The officials want China to be seen as a cultured, creative nation, but in this anti-liberal political society everything outside the direct control of the state is seen as a potential threat.—, May 12, 2010

During my detention, they kept asking me: Ai Weiwei, what is the reason you have become like this today? My answer is: First, I refuse to forget. My parents, my family, their whole generation and my generation all paid a great deal in the struggle for freedom of speech. Many people died just because of one sentence or even one word. Somebody has to take responsibility for that. —Der Spiegel, Nov. 21, 2011

In a society like this there is no negotiation, no discussion, except to tell you that power can crush you any time they want—not only you, your whole family and all people like you.—Financial Times, Feb. 24, 2012

China might seem quite successful in its controls, but it has only raised the water level. It's like building a dam: It thinks there is more water so it will build higher. But every drop of water is still in there. It doesn't understand how to let the pressure out. It builds up a way to maintain control and push the problem to the next generation. —Guardian, April 15, 2012

I will never leave China, unless I am forced to. Because China is mine. I will not leave something that belongs to me in the hands of people I do not trust.—Reuters, May 29, 2012