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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Immersion Art - The Early Works, 2005

Via Flickr:
David S Pollack becomes Cubby in this early work of Immersion art.

The Basehouse series was created in reaction to the artists urge to combine Photography, Installation, and Method Acting. Cubby was David's first charac ter and "Basehouse, a Meditation/Playplace for Cubby" took over 7 years to complete.

Untitled.

Untitled. by No Ace Just You
Untitled., a photo by No Ace Just You on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Originally taken in Raw and edited in Lightroom. Hated it and used the original JPG.

hold it....

hold it.... by Joe Tursi
hold it...., a photo by Joe Tursi on Flickr.

Wim Wenders: WINGS OF DESIRE 1987 on Theorize Art




WINGS OF DESIRE
1987

Director:

Wim Wenders
Screenplay:
Wim Wenders
Peter Handke
Director of Photography:Henri Alekan

Editor:
Peter Przygodda

Music:

Jürgen Knieper


Production Design:

Heidi Lüdi


Cast:

Bruno Ganz
Solveig Dommartin
Otto Sander
Curt Bois
Peter Falk
Festivals/Awards:
1987 Cannes 

(Best Director)
1987 Gildepreis in Silver
(Best German Film)
1988 FELIX, European Film Prize
(Best Director)
1988 German Film Prize in Gold
(Best Director)
1988 Bavarian Film Prize
(Director)


Producers:

Wim Wenders
Anatole Dauman
 

Production:

Road Movies Filmproduktion/Berlin
Argos Films/Paris

Length:
128 min.

Format: 
35mm
B&W and Colour
Original Title: 
Der Himmel über Berlin

Original Language:German


.


The sky over Wenders' war-scarred Berlin is full of gentle, trenchcoated angels who listen to the tortured thoughts of mortals and try to comfort them. One, Damiel (Bruno Ganz), wishes to become mortal after falling in love with a beautiful trapeze artist, Marion (Solveig Dommartin). Peter Falk, as himself, assists in the transformation by explaining the simple joys of a human experience, such as the sublime combination of coffee and cigarettes.
Told from the angel's point of view, the film is shot in black and white, blossoming into color only when the angels perceive the realities of humankind. Ultimately, Damiel determines that he must experience humanity in full, and breaks through in to the real world to pursue a life with Marion.
A hugely acclaimed and multi-award winning movie including Best Director for Wenders at Cannes 1987; which was remade in 1998 into City of Angels starring Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan.

Bruno Ganz (Damiel)

Song of Childhood
By Peter Handke
When the child was a child
It walked with its arms swinging,
wanted the brook to be a river,
the river to be a torrent,
and this puddle to be the sea.
When the child was a child,
it didn’t know that it was a child,
everything was soulful,
and all souls were one.....


Solveig Dommartin (Marion), Wim Wenders

Curt Bois (Homer), Otto Sander (Cassiel)
back to top
Other recommended reading:
- Barry, Thomas F. "The Weight of Angels: Peter Handke and Der Himmel über Berlin." Modern Austrain Literature 23.3/4 (1993): 53-64.
- Caldwell, David and Paul W. Rea. "Handke's and Wender's Wings of Desire: Transcending Postmodernism." German Quarterly 64.1 (1991): 46-54.
- Green, Peter. "Germans Abroad: Herzog, Wenders, Adlon." Sight and Sound Winter 1987/88: 128-29.
- Helmetag, Charles H. "...Of Men and Angels: Literary Allusions in Wim Wender's Wings of Desire." Film/Literature Quarterly 18.4 (1990): 251-53.
- Hooks, Bell. "Representing Whiteness: Seeing Wings of Desire." Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics. Boston: West End Press, 1990. 165-71.
- Kolker, Robert Philipp and Peter Beicken. "Wings of Desire: Between Heaven and Earth."Wim Wenders: Cinema as Vision and Desire. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993. 138-60.
- Paneth, Ira. "Wim and His Wings." Film Quarterly 42 (Fall 1988): 2-8. (Interview)
- Rogowski, Christian. "'Der liebevolle Blick'? The Problem of Perception in Wim Wenders's Wings of Desire." Seminar (Nov. 1993): 398-409.






Wim Wenders' one-second wonders



Wim Wenders' one-second wonders

If brevity is a cinematic virtue, Wim Wenders must be a born-again paragon. Rob Hastings looks at a film competition where the story must be told in 24 frames



Boil moviemaking down to just the tiniest of moments and still directors will argue about it. Jean Luc Godard once said "cinema is truth 24 frames a second", while Brian de Palma maintained that films lied at the same rate.

Either way, the boundless possibilities of what can be achieved with a video camera and just an instant to play with are being explored by a film competition in which entries can last no longer than one second. Yet with great irony, The Beauty of A Second is being judged by a director famed for delighting in some of the slowest films and most lingering shots in cinema history.
The man in question is the German director Wim Wenders, a Palme d'Or-winning hero of the European arthouse scene. With many short-film contests now flooding the internet as cheap marketing tools for the companies backing them – this one is run by the pen and watch manufacturer Mont Blanc, while Virgin Media and the recruitment company Reed are among others who have cottoned on to the benefits – some cynics may feel Wenders has been duped, or paid very handsomely, for aiding a gimmick-driven publicity exercise.
Yet watching some of the early entries, the extreme challenge and real artistic merit behind the quick-fire concept quickly shine through. A few of the results are, simply, sublime. Nor are they all as pretentious as one might expect.
The online competition is open to anyone with a digital camcorder, even if it is just the camera on your mobile phone, and as Wenders says in the promotional video, the entries can focus on "anything you consider beautiful". Among the subjects he suggests are a smile, a child's face or a kiss – but the clips uploaded so far have shown far more ingenuity. An extreme close-up of a snail's antennae wobbling inquisitively; a man opening the door of his car in an empty car park below a stormy black sky, only to step back in befuddlement as hundreds of brightly coloured balls gush out of the vehicle; a little girl pulling a snorkelling mask over her face. It is surprising how even the briefest shot of the sun glinting on the minuscule hairs on a woman's back can prove so highly evocative.
Film buffs who know a thing or two about Wim Wenders are still likely to be smirking at his involvement in the competition, however. His style of directing could hardly be in more direct contrast to the instantaneous fix of fast-cut shots that older figures in Hollywood sneer are the death of sensitive filmmaking. Instead of resorting to increasingly desperate attempts to keep the so-called MTV generation engaged, Wenders is known for keeping his cameras lingering as long as possible. And as for length, his 1991 film Until The End Of The World was released in cinemas at a relatively restrained 158 minutes – the director's cut DVD version runs for 280 minutes.
"As someone who has a passion for cinema taking its time, there's a nice irony in him being involved in a one-second film competition," says Ian Freer, a film reviewer and assistant editor of Empire magazine. "It's the opposite of what he does. Kings of the Road [175 minutes, 1976] is brilliant, but it's very slow."
As for the concept behind the competition, Mr Freer think it is an inspiring one. "If there's any way to squeeze even the tiniest narrative into 24 frames of film, that just seems a fun thing to try and do," he said. "There is something compelling about it."
Not all the critics are so impressed, however. Dave Calhoun, the film editor of Time Out, said: "If you look at the compilation video of the first round of entries, you're not actually watching a one-second film. When they're edited together and you add music on: yes, somebody has shot the image, but the artistry and the creativity is in the edit – and then it begins to feel like an advert for a building society. The music is so bland, and the images are so general and universal.
"Any competition which encourages people to think about the moving image is a positive thing," he added. "But you do watch that compilation and wonder how much Wenders has been paid – that was my main thought. I'm not saying he's insincere, but it is a commercial, really."
The motive behind The Beauty of a Second is, of course, primarily commercial. But for the many aspiring film-makers who are spending days coming up with ideas for this shortest of short-film challenges – which closes on 10 January, offering the prize of a weekend break in Berlin and a meet-and-greet with Wenders himself – that is of little importance.

Sigmar Polke's Complete Graphic Works Exhibited in Sao Paulo Brazil


Sigmar Polke's Complete Graphic Works Exhibited in Sao Paulo Brazil

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artwork: Sigmar Polke - "Supermarkets aus dem Zyklus, Wir Kleinbürger!", 1976 Gouache, Acryl, Trockenstifte, Sprayfarben, Collage auf Papier - Foto: Olaf Pascheit © VG Bild-Kunst

SAO PAULO.- After organizing the special and prized exhibition German Contemporary Painting and inaugurating the international tour of Places, Strange and Quiet, a photo show by Wim Wenders, MASP\ creates and produces Sigmar Polke – Capitalist Realism and other illustrated histories, an exhibition with the complete series of graphic works (edition prints, 1963-2009) and other objects by the German visual artist, plus the series Day by Day (mixed media) which was a thrill in the 13th Art Biennial of São Paulo in 1975, when Polke received the first prize for painting. In the first international exhibition of the German artist Sigmar Polke after his death in June, 2010, at the age of 69, MASP presents the complete series of graphic works (edition prints) created by this visual artist between 1963 and 2009. 


On the whole, more than 220 pieces lent by the collectionist Axel Ciesielski plus 25 works in mixed media of the series Day by Day, created by Polke for the International Art Biennial of São Paulo in 1975, which were lent for this exhibition by another private collection. After the show German Contemporary Painting and Places, Strange and Quiet, photos by Wim Wenders, both brought to São Paulo last year, the exhibition SIGMAR POLKE – Capitalist Realism and other illustrated histories makes MASP stand out in the international scene of the contemporary production. Curated by Tereza Arruda with the collaboration of Teixeira Coelho, this show may be seen from October 28 to January 29, 2012.

artwork: A view of the exhibition 'Capitalist realism and another illustrated stories' by German artist Sigmar Polke at Art Museum of Sao Paulo, Brazil. -  Photo by EPA

Considered one of the most significant creative forces of post-War Europe, Polke was born in 1941 in Silesia – a region incorporated by Eastern Germany in 1949 and today shared by Poland, Czech Republic and Germany. When 12 years old he moves, along with his family, to the then Western Germany and at 20 years-old he is accepted by the Art Academy of Düsseldorf. In 1963, he becomes known when organizing, with his classmates Gerhard Richter and Konrad Fischer (then Konrad Lueg), the performance and later the movement called Capitalist Realism, so named in order to make a satire of the Socialist Realism, the official aesthetic and artistic doctrine of the Soviet Union, and also to criticize the market-driven art world in Western capitalism. 

In the 70s his work focuses mainly on photographic production and manipulation, amid his many world travels. In 1975, he becomes the great star of the 13th Art Biennial of São Paulo by winning the grand prize of painting and presenting the series Day by Day (mixed media), which MASP now presents in its original format for the first time. In the 80s, he experiments with different kinds of paint, chemicals and solvents and in 1986 he receives the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennial for his installation Athanor, with a paint developed by him based on pigments that reacted to the local light and dampness by changing color. The prize reinforced his name as one of the most important of German art, besides Richter, Joseph Beuys, Georg Baselitz and Anselm Kiefer. 

Above all, Sigmar Polke was a free iconoclast spirit. The fact that his work cannot be included in any specific school or style is, per se, the best definition of his work.

artwork: Sigmar Polke - "Aachener Strasse", 1995 (a series of sixty C-prints) From Sigmar Polke-Photoworks: When Pictures Vanish, - MOCA/SCALO

Sigmar Polke, the freedom to want by Teixeira Coelho, curator of MASP. Extracts: (...) When words lack to seize something, to explain something even if only to oneself, when one is not able to really understand, vague terms come to the rescue: Polke was called a pop artist, of the pop version that came from beyond the Iron Curtain or the Berlin Wall. To say this is too little, nothing actually. There are more fitting expressions for Polke. In 2004, again the Tate, now the Modern, from London, presented a comprehensive exhibition of his work. This exhibition came under a title that expressed well whatever would be seen: History of Everything. The title of the exhibition was: Sigmar Polke: History of Everything. And Polke made precisely that, a history of everything. His art is an art of the history of everything. History is, history still is the main character and one of the central drives of the work of many German artists, Gerhard Richter, Anselm Keefer and Neo Rauch, to name just a few among the most relevant (with some who were caught unawares by History). And it is also in and for Polke. But in fact Polke, even more than the others, really composed, with his varied work in painting, gouache, print, photos and films, a history of everything. 

A history from soccer to politics, passing by the Olimpic Games and contemporary everyday scenes. Of Germany and the world. (...)People say that an artist should have a say about the world so that whatever he or she says will add to the world. What Polke has to say about the world is a lot. It is everything, almost everything, everything possible. But whatever he says of relevant about the world, when he says it about art it is about the mode of liberty, the mode of liberty to wish. That is what can be identified in Polke when one can see him among others: the wish of freedom to want, very hard to practice, very hard even to imagine, a freedom that in art is divine. Such as in fields of life.

Sigmar Polke (1941 – 2010) was born in Oels, Silesia. In 1953 he moved from Thuringia to Düsseldorf where he began an apprenticeship as a glass-painter in 1959. Between 1961-1967 he studied at the Düsseldorf Art Academy. Over 40 years Polke created complex works that have helped define the art of the time. In the 1960s he created a new and unique vision of German art, which during the postwar years had been largely derivative of gestural abstraction. During this time Polke began making his ‘dot’ paintings, manually executed parodies of the Benday dot screens used by Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol.

Antony Gormley - Horizon Field Installations on view until April 2012

Via Flickr:
The Kunsthaus Bregenz (the "KUB") ~ Outstanding Exhibition Spaces for Contemporary Art In Austria ~ Is Toured By AKN Editor
www.artknowledgenews.com/2011_01_26_23_00_57_the_kunsthau...

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Paul Klee - Polyphon, 1930

Via Flickr:
'Paul Klee: Melody / Rhythm / Dance' at Museum der Moderne Salzburg
www.artknowledgenews.com/Paul_Klee_Melody_Rythm_Dance.html

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2012 will mark fifty years of the International Studio Glass Movement

Via Flickr:
Dale Chihuly to launch Halcyon Gallery in London's New Bond Street
www.artknowledgenews.com/28_11_2011_22_03_21_dale_chihuly...

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Roy Lichtenstein - "Reflections on Minerva", 1990

Via Flickr:
World Famous "Art Miami" Returns for its 22nd Edition
www.artknowledgenews.com/29_11_2011_00_19_33_world_famous...

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Michel Majerus - View of Exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum, 2005

Via Flickr:
Michel Majerus' Complex Oeuvre on view at Kunstmuseum Stuttgart
www.artknowledgenews.com/28_11_2011_22_14_19_michel_majer...

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See incoming international art news from multiple media sources at : Art News Worldwide.

Adam Etmanski - A photo installation based upon a place, that could be anyplace

Via Flickr:
Seelevel Gallery Shows "Once Removed" ~ Tania Theodorou & Adam Etmanski
www.artknowledgenews.com/28_11_2011_23_17_04_seelevel_gal...

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Vladimir Ovchinnikov - "The Illustionist", 2011

Via Flickr:
Recent Works by Russian artist Vladimir Ovchinnikov at Erarta Galleries in London
www.artknowledgenews.com/28_11_2011_23_00_13_recent_works...

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See incoming international art news from multiple media sources at : Art News Worldwide.

Dale Chihuly - "Yellow Persian"

Via Flickr:
Dale Chihuly to launch Halcyon Gallery in London's New Bond Street
www.artknowledgenews.com/28_11_2011_22_03_21_dale_chihuly...

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See incoming international art news from multiple media sources at : Art News Worldwide.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

velvet

velvet by garageismi
velvet, a photo by garageismi on Flickr.

ride upon the wind

ride upon the wind by {the gloaming}
ride upon the wind, a photo by {the gloaming} on Flickr.

atrapa almas

atrapa almas by maximorgana
atrapa almas, a photo by maximorgana on Flickr.

I, robot

I, robot by maximorgana
I, robot, a photo by maximorgana on Flickr.

13 ~ escape

13 ~ escape by Teresa Teixeira
13 ~ escape, a photo by Teresa Teixeira on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
View Large On White

Obrigada, Luís Raposo e Galeria do Colectivo F4, pelo convite para participar nesta exposição!
Aproveito para dar o meu contributo para a sua divulgação....

Christmas lights

Christmas lights by ©mlphoto
Christmas lights, a photo by ©mlphoto on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
All of you a good evening, here a shot from the weekend.

Don't Walk BY

Don't Walk BY by ZedZap
Don't Walk BY, a photo by ZedZap on Flickr.

under construction

under construction by nicolasheinzelmann
under construction, a photo by nicolasheinzelmann on Flickr.

Be happy

Be happy by Pilar Azaña
Be happy, a photo by Pilar Azaña on Flickr.

Moments before Doom

Moments before Doom by Luis Montemayor
Moments before Doom, a photo by Luis Montemayor on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
[ Demoreel | Portfolio | Linkedin | My Book | Flickr | My Blog | Twitter | IMDB | Facebook ]

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Light series

The Light series by Khizar Rajput
The Light series, a photo by Khizar Rajput on Flickr.

Via Flickr:

K h i z a r r a j p u t 2 0 1 1 ©

Life

Life by Malhas`
Life, a photo by Malhas` on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
EXPLORE Oct 15 2011

Enlightenment

Enlightenment by hsolenkhi
Enlightenment, a photo by hsolenkhi on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
comes in many forms, it's just upto us on how we can grasp it. Not all doors are shut yet some remain open, we just have to find them and continue that journey of life.

Oh shyt! Maybe I SHOULD go shopping!!! lol! You are photo tagged!

Via Flickr:
www.xmasclock.com/

Jeez -not flattering heeeeeeeeeeeeeee~ Booo!

I was going to tag you - but would love you to tag yourself:D

-

- by _barb_
-, a photo by _barb_ on Flickr.

...Invasion

Via Flickr:
Unedited shot of a biker in Amsterdam, reflected in a puddle. Taken with my Sony HX1. No editing, no magic tricks, no Photoshop :)

Help!! Amsterdam has been invaded by Bike-eating Aliens, that devour any bike that they can get their slimy hands on, often while the owners are still riding them through the mean streets of the best city in the world! I was lucky enough to capture these horrible events as they happened, in this picture you can actually see a biker being dissolved and sucked into the vortex of the Alien abyss, never to be seen again! I urge the NATO to start bombing the bases of these greedy creatures from outer space before it's too late and there won't be any bikers left! Naturally, I am mostly concerned for my own well-being, as biking is my sole means of transportation, and I'd just hate to get slurped up into the stomach of a Space Invader through a puddle, just to satisfy their need for metal and rubber! SOS! United Nations, where are you? American Army, invade us now, to save us from this Doom-scenario! Heeeeeelp!!! Hahaha :D


Have a good start into the new week!



Amsterdam photos

Wicked reflections

www.amstersam.com

oil on canvass

oil on canvass by maximorgana
oil on canvass, a photo by maximorgana on Flickr.

Rain [ plaza hotel...edition ]

don't_tread_on_me

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chase Alias' :)(: A Deeper Meaning

Via Flickr:
Actions cannot be accomplished with imagination. Actions can only be accomplished with actions. Interpretations or understanding of behavior are merely interpretation and understanding; they do not have a deeper meaning. "Action" and "nonaction" is the same. With regard to certain problems, we have few choices. -Ai WeiWei

Please go to #lovejoys and check out Spot's amazing collection of old photos from his punk days.

Rest Area, with Holden Vance III as Chuck Tyler

Via Flickr:
Rest Area staring Holden Vance III,
circa 1979, the Middle of Nowhere, USA

Immersion Artist, Conceptual Art Photographer, Method Actor and Critic Holden Vance III becomes a Middle American playboy lomg haul truck driver named Chuck Tyler.

Set in the late 70's before the onset of AIDS when our cultural nievity still exhisted. Chuck is layed back and totally dependable. He'll always et ther ahead of time even when his libido veres him of course.

On this particularlly hot and muggy summer evening. After a nice long ride Chuck finds a quite moment to reflect on his seemingly trivial existence. When he wakes to begin his journey he'll get way more than he ever expected in this contemporary melting pot found along the higways he drives. A place he affectionatel know as the Rest Area.
-Holden Vance III as Chuck Tyler

HDR Video Screen Capture as played on Adobe Quicktime. Originally capture on a Flip Video HD.

Feelings of Unfamiliarity

Via Flickr:
Chase Alias' Feelings of Unfamiliarity

...No matter whether or not we are convinced of the information that is present to us, every bit is useless in allying our doubts about the likelihood of the photograph. Analyzing light, density and amounts causes logic and emotion to become dissociated amid a dependance on facts and feelings of unfamiliarity. -Ai WeiWei

...For You :)

Via Flickr:
Shot of the Revolution in Amsterdam. Taken with my HTC Desire using the Camera360 Android app. :)

The company I work for got this new chief manager, and the guy is making lots of new friends left and right by trying to impose his idea of how we should work, dress and behave in a rather arrogant, aggressive way. He keeps walking around, looking at us lowlife scumbags, who earn his salary with hard work, through his fancy glasses with his beady little eyes, that are full of fear that he might catch some horrible disease if he comes too close to us. In fact he never ventures anywhere near the regular worker-bees and limits his contacts to the upper management, shooting us dirty looks whenever he has to walk around in those areas where the people who earn as much in a month as he spends on a suit (or possibly just his tasteless, overprize tie, that he has pointing at the empty space between his shaky legs), and does his best to try to change us into something that he does not have to be afraid of, but since he's paying peanuts, he's getting smelly, uneducated, feeces-throwing monkeys like us, and not a bunch of Rocket-scientist who share his impecable sense of style and fashion, a simple fact of life that he does not seem to be able to compute in his Elite-University-educated, wavy-hair wearing, butt-ugly head, lol :D

I have one thing to tell you, dear Mr.Slavemaster Sir Lordy Lordship: We are the majority, and very soon those few dickweeds like yourself, who are keeping us in a permanent position of enslavement, giving us just enough crumbs of the money-cake to allow us to barely survive, instead of being able to build better lives for ourselves and our families, will be removed from their undeserved position of power and dealt with accordingly. You are the 1%, and what a shining, puke-inducing example you are, you stand for everything that's wrong with this world today, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution, so F*ck You, F*ck You very much! But don't worry, the 99% are awake, and we're going to face-palm your scared little ass until you realize that you've been occupied, you fake F*ck, hahaha :D

Almost weekend :)



Amsterdam photos

Wicked reflections

www.amstersam.com

I, robot

I, robot by maximorgana
I, robot, a photo by maximorgana on Flickr.

Kiss :)(: Kiss Conceptual Art Networks and the Public Blogging Network Have Worked to Create Now Proudly Present: eCapture | eCapture

Kiss :)(: Kiss Conceptual Art Networks and the Public Blogging Network Have Worked to Create Now Proudly Present: eCapture | eCapture:

'via Blog this'

Chase Alias' :)(: A Deeper Meaning

Via Flickr:
Actions cannot be accomplished with imagination. Actions can only be accomplished with actions. Interpretations or understanding of behavior are merely interpretation and understanding; they do not have a deeper meaning. "Action" and "nonaction" is the same. With regard to certain problems, we have few choices. -Ai WeiWei

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Artist and Activist Ai Weiwei detained in Bejing Airport and is still missing



AiWeiWei e1301943003454 Artist and Activist Ai Weiwei detained in Bejing Airport and is still missing

On April 4th, Chinese artist and political dissident, Ai Weiwei, was prevented from catching a flight from Beijing to Hong Kong. The assistant who was with Ai at the time, Jennifer Ng, was told by officials that “he had other business” to attend to as the artist was taken into custody. The location and condition of the artist are to date unknown. The detention of the prominent artist, well-known for his open criticism of the Chinese government, may relate to an accelerated suppression of Chinese intellectuals, possibly related to fear on part of the incumbent authorities of a Chinese version of the so-called “jasmine movement” that has been shaking, and in some cases dismantling, some of the Middle East’s dictatorship regimes. Under these still-unclear premises, at least twenty-three Chinese political dissidents have been detained, three have been formally arrested, and at least a dozen are missing. These events, embodying the most severe crackdown in China during the last decade, reflect the rigid and, considering the lack of public anti-government protests, delusive security measures of the system.
More text and images after the jump…
Ai Weiwei’s body of work has pointed out a finger (sometimes a middle finger, as in “Study of Perspective”, from 1995-2003) to the flaws and abuses of the Chinese authorities. His recent installations, “Sunflower Seeds,” (2010) in London at the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, and “Remembering,” (2009) at Munich, present a gargantuan piling of objects (in “Remembering” Ai uses 9,000 children’s backpacks) with sensible connotations on China’s history. The installation “Sunflower Seeds” makes allusions to the famines that have affected the Chinese population during the  communist years, while “Remembering” is a frail monument to the children that were victims of the Sichuan earthquake. The collapse of the public schools in the area during the earthquake killed over 4,200 children – which has been cited as an unforeseen consequence of the authorities’ use of poor quality materials during construction.
ai weiwei sunflower seeds 006 Artist and Activist Ai Weiwei detained in Bejing Airport and is still missing
Sunflower Seeds (2010) by Ai Weiwei , via Tate Modern
Ai Weiwei’s long history of friction and discontent with the Chinese regime can be traced back to his childhood. His father, Ai Qing, was a well-renowned poet who fell from grace because of his supposed association with leftists radicals. Eventually, the State stripped his titles, and then forced him to make his living by cleaning public toilettes. Ai Qing and his family lived in inhuman conditions, and he attempted suicide on several occasions.
Ai Weiwei Beijing e1301943038260 Artist and Activist Ai Weiwei detained in Bejing Airport and is still missing
Guards outside Mr. Ai’s studio via New York Times
From its origins through contemporary times, the methods of the communist Chinese government for appeasing dissident voices has evolved to encompass the complete spectrum of opposition in order to crush it. Since Ai Weiwei started reacting and questioning the system, he has been physically attacked by Chinese policemen (in 2009 he underwent an emergency surgery related to internal bleeding, weeks after receiving blows to the head). His Shanghai studio was demolished under government orders as he was placed under house arrest. Ai Weiwei has been prevented from leaving the country (most recently in 2010, when the authorities suspected that he was planning on attending the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in honor of  the imprisoned Chinese activist Liu Xiaobo), and has been closely followed by plainclothes policemen. Additionally, two of his email accounts have been hacked and deleted. His patience, resilience, and in some cases stubbornness have been among the foundations of Ai’s politics of resistance. He has steadily denounced the Kafkaesque bureaucratic apparatus, seemingly designed for the repression of demands by the common citizen,who is, at the end, overwhelmed by the impermeability and impassibility of the Chinese civil-servants’ procedures. Also, Ai has been using Twitter to keep a tally of the detentions and disappearances occurring in China; his account has cultivated over 70,000 followers.
Ai Weiwei e1301955360373 Artist and Activist Ai Weiwei detained in Bejing Airport and is still missing
Ai Weiwei at a hospital in September, 2009. via Twitter
The issue of whether Ai Weiwei will be released anytime soon, or formally arrested, becomes more and more turbid. Since the whereabouts of the artist are not yet known, there has been extensive international media coverage exposing the concerns and speculations of his family and friends, as well as human rights activists, lawyers, politicians (Germany minister Wester Weyler has requested China his release), and the international art scene, all of whom have expressed their worries about Ai’s present situation without receiving any confirmation from the authorities. Additionally, a petition on Twitter (A “Twitition“) has materialized, garnering support for freedom of the well-known artist. The Chinese police’s scarce comments on the detention have varied, ranging from ambiguous to plainly blunt. After the detention, policemen in both plainclothes and uniform searched the artist’s studio in Caochangdi and other properties, extracting a number of items including thirty computers and hard drives, and also shutting down the electricity in the neighborhood. Furthermore, eight of his assistance were also hauled out of the studio, detained and later released. His wife, originally kept in house arrest  during these events, has been released, but hasn’t been able to communicate with Ai. The artist had recently announced his plans on moving his studio to Berlin, following the destruction of his brand-new studio in outer Shanghai, but according to acquaintances, Ai didn’t give hints of anticipating his detention.
- M. Silva

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