I suppose that one day the place will be commercialised for Nanchong Subway Map tourists, but I felt privileged to have seen it before that time arrived. Wandering around Nanchong Subway Map slowly absorbing the atmosphere I went further than I had intended; distance is deceptive in the clear desert light, and looking at my watch I realised that the last bus from the village to Yinchuan had probably left. Making haste across the scrubby desert I headed for the road, only a few miles away, hoping that when I reached it something might come along and give me a ride. In the time it took to walk there I didn’t miss any rides; there was no traffic. For half an hour the only sign of life was a man riding a donkey with a spare donkey trotting behind. I asked if I could ride the spare donkey.
Backlash on the Mid-ground: The arrhythm of Ai Weiwei
Another art district, FAKE Design, established by Ai Weiwei in Beijing in 2003 reflects change, but also backlash as art, philosophy and politics clash. Ai’s commentary through exhibitions, publications and online Blogs has become increasingly verbose and difficult to disengage from his political activity. This can be seen in his strong criticism of the Chinese Government over its handling of the Beijing Olympics despite the fact that he had been part of the design team for the Olympic Stadium. In 2009 Ai posted on his studio walls the names of over 5,000 children killed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake while concurrently publishing the list on his Blog. In Ai’s practice generally any perceived boundary line between art, philosophy and politics is blurred. Art and activism are intertwined in all his practice, from his gallery work to his public installations, architecture and Blogs, web sites and Twitter zones. His work has become more and more extreme to the point of him becoming a no holds-barred dissident on a collision course with the government’ (Johnson 2011). Just prior to his arrest he published an almost-nude picture of himself on the Internet. The caption characters have a double meaning in Chinese, so millions of Internet users have interpreted the characters as F.. .k your mother, the party central committee’ (Sheridan 2011). Much of Ai’s virtual presence has disappeared due to intervention by the Chinese Government. His Internet pronouncements now take new forms such as the blog publication, Ai Weiwei’s Blog: Writings, interviews and digital rants 2006 – 2009 (Ai and Ambrozy 2011). The closing down of Ai’s Internet presence in China, the bulldozing of his studio in Shanghai and his arrest at Beijing’s airport in April 2011 can all be seen as aspects of backlash within a period of political, social and economic transition. After his arrest it was not clear what had happened to Ai and his secret detention had all the hallmark signs of China’s past. In time, a reported visit by Ai’s wife, Lu Qing, confirmed that he appeared to be unharmed (Sheridan 2011). In June 2011, Ai was released from what was reported as residential surveillance’ (Wong 2011) at the same time as Hu Jia, a prominent prisoner of conscience, was also reported released (Martin 2011) among a series of high profile releases around the time of celebrations of the sixtieth anniversary of Communist Party rule and the ninetieth anniversary of the founding the Chinese Communist Party. The releases and the timing of them could be interpreted as symptomatic of shifts on the mid-ground. Ai has been accused of tax evasion and only time will tell if this was indeed the cause of his arrest or if in fact his arrest was a means of trying to silence this outspoken artist. Whatever the outcome, his arrest indicates that the arrhythm created through Ai’s persistent irreverence still has consequences in China. Ironically, it could be said that China itself created the possibility of Ai’s outspokenness by opening its intellectual borders at a time when postmodernist pastiche, sensationalism and performance art were reaching their ascendency in the West’ (Smith 2011: 58). By moving to New York, Ai’s artistic thinking was grounded in this ascendency and is now being played out in China. Arrhythm is the cental characteristic of Ai Weiwei’s methodological processes. Arrhythm and backlash are integral parts of the midground between urban past and future.
Nanchong Subway Map Photo Gallery
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