Thu, May 23, 2013 - Page 6 News List

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei releases ‘Dumbass’

AFP, BEIJING

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei reacts during a group interview about his newly released music at his studio in Beijing, China, yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei (艾未未) released a foul-mouthed heavy rock song titled Dumbass yesterday, with a video parodying his months in police detention.

The video accompanying the song, posted online, shows Ai under interrogation, marking a document with a red thumbprint, and wearing a black hood labeled “Criminal,” before being scrutinized by guards in a prison shower.

Ai said he had created the five-minute video, which is peppered with bad language and also shows guards dancing with lingerie-clad women, as well as a toilet full of crabs, to highlight the plight of other Chinese dissidents.

It culminates with him wearing women’s underwear himself, his head shaved and his mouth in a lipsticked pout.

Some of the track’s few printable lyrics include: “Tolerance be damned, to hell with manners, the low-life’s invincible” and “Stand on the frontline like a dumbass, in a country that puts out like a hooker.”

The combination of music and police repression was inspired by his own 81-day detention in 2011, Ai told reporters, adding that for the video he created an “exact model” of the room in which he was kept for much of the period.

“There are so many political prisoners in China who are being kept in even worse conditions than I was,” he said. “When I was detained, the guards would ask me to sing songs for them ... even in such a place, people still have imagination.”

The video was shot by famed Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle, best known for working with high-profile Hong Kong film director Wong Kar-wai (王家衛).

Later this year, Ai is due to represent Germany at the Venice Biennale, one of the biggest events in the global art calendar, but he said he is not able to travel outside China because authorities have seized his passport.

“I still haven’t been given back my passport, and the authorities have never explained why ... I am not sure if I will be able to go,” he said.

Ai has plans to release a hard-rock album, titled The Divine Comedy later this year, partly inspired by the work of British singer Elton John, who dedicated a concert to him last year.

The video can be seen at: http://aiweiwei.com/music.

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