Artist, Ai Weiwei Studio, Beijing
BREAKING THE WALL TO THE ARTS. How the Internet Opens a New Era of Creative Expression Beyond Boundaries
"Censorship is saying: 'I'm the one who says the last sentence. Whatever you say, the conclusion is mine.' But the internet is like a tree that is growing. The people will always have the last word - even if someone has a very weak, quiet voice." Ai Weiwei is the first artist in history able to use digital media with the same effectiveness of sculpture, architecture, photography, film, music, performance. By using social media as a platform for active, sociopolitical engagement, he is one of the most influential living artists and the ultimate “dissident for the digital age”. For his role in uncovering corruption in Sichuan schools following the area’s 2008 earthquake he got arrested, was held by the Chinese government for 81 days, and hospitalized for injuries. The authorities have not yet returned his passport, preventing him from attending his numerous shows outside China, like his recent participation at the Venice Biennale, or commencing his work as a visiting professor at the Berlin University of the Arts. Together with Olafur Eliasson, another icon of public art, Weiwei discusses the role of the internet in the future of human rights via live video connection. At Falling Walls, they will announce their first joint effort, a digital public art platform dedicated to freedom of expression and creative collaboration.