|The poster for Alison Klayman's documentary on Ai Weiwei|
|Ai likes to document everything, even the filmmaker|
In the end they managed to get over 5,000 names and he placed their name, gender, age and their birth date on large pieces of paper and pasted together. It's a terrible testament to what happened and outrageous that the government has done nothing to acknowledge these deaths.
|In an elevator with the police after his beating in Sichuan|
His fascination with the internet is also shown in the film, blogging and tweeting -- the latter constantly. He seems obsessed with documenting everything, particularly his beating and the aftermath. As one of his artist friends says, the government is a bunch of hooligans so Ai acts like a hooligan too. He seems to know how to deal with them -- which is basically shove things back in their face.
While they film him, he films them filming him -- or rather his assistants do. While this looks amusing, Ai points out his documenting this is more effective because it's posted online whereas the police's record is for internal use only. Ai is keen to show how brutal, pathetic, bureaucratic and terrorizing the government is to him, so imagine how much more horrible they are in how they treat ordinary people.
|Painting some of the millions of ceramic sunflower seeds|
There's also the softer side of Ai, seeing him with his son, Ai Lao. He fathered the child with another woman who insisted on keeping the baby when she told him she was pregnant. While we don't see his wife Luo Qing's reaction, he takes full responsibility of the child's well being though he visits the child daily. It's a strange arrangement, that even Ai is at a loss of words to explain to a British journalist.
Then when he was going to fly to Hong Kong he was suddenly detained at the airport. Director Klayman was madly trying to finish editing the film at the time because he was going to go to New York for the opening of his Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads (which I also saw two years ago). He disappeared and there were worldwide protests.
|He likes to blog, but tweet even more so everyday|
But months later he was back online and doing media interviews, just not leaving Beijing. The documentary kind of ends there, and makes you wonder what his experience was like being offline and isolated for 81 days. However, his recent exhibition at the Venice Biennale kind of explains it as he made miniature dioramas of what he went through which is fascinating, yet not surprising he would do something like that.
Ai admits he doesn't like producing his own work and has an army of staff to do it. One of them interviewed likens it to being an assassin. He says that Ai pays him money to execute his work for him.
When asked about his cat-and-mouse game with the government, Ai says he's like chess player, looking to see what his move his opponent is going to make. Before he was was beaten up, he claims he is not fearless but fearful because he knew of the potential dangers.
|First time director Alison Klayman|
He casually makes the statement, "Life is more interesting when you make a bit of effort". And Klayman said after the screening that Ai is non-stop, constantly having projects on the go.
He has definitely spurred me to try to do more and be more productive. Definitely a force to be reckoned with. We look forward to whatever he does next.