Sunday, July 31, 2011

Visual Assignment #2: "Freedom for Ai Weiwei"

We come to travel with our fantasies. These fantasies, at the border of reality, make the line between the real and the fantasized, the personal and the public, the outer world and the inner world ambiguous and porous.  For this assignment we’d like you to offer one picture or image that you’ve taken here in Berlin that captures best for you the crossing of your fantasies about this summer abroad and the world of difference you actually found here in Berlin.

“Traveling tells you that all you heard about a country is wrong.”—From a book in IPE office

In my mind Berlin is a developed industrial city, and Germany has high-tech electronic products. Berlin is just like what I saw in the early 20th century's German silent films that city is clean and people are all busy. So before I come to Berlin, I thought Berlin is a city with everything orderly. Berliners are rigorous, strict and lack of humor.

But after I got here I found every corner of this city has some artistic, humorous and creative work.
When I walk along a street I can always come across some interesting graffiti and stickers. The diversity of arts is already been a part of the specialties of Berlin. For example, I used to see a wall with one side painted a rabbit while another side is the skeleton of that rabbit, on another wall I saw a poster with a sign saying: ”Don’t fart on fashion shows.” Maybe these graffiti are not elegant, even make Berlin look like a little bit messy, but they give this city much vitality and interests.

Besides the aesthetic part of art, the performance art is also very active and diverse in Berlin. Lovers play guitar at flea market; some bands play instruments and sing at Alexander platz; Dancer interact and make jokes for spectators. And their audiences also like and respect their performances. Art of Berlin is not only lives in museum or gallery, but also lives on the street, in the market, in the park and very part of the city. Even the traffic lights are interesting, using a cute boy with a little hat. Berlin leaves a place for the artists to breathe and create.

The above picture is taken on 7th of July before the museum—Martin Gropius Bau. The banner on the picture says: ”Freedom for Ai Weiwei”, which is designed by Günther Uecker. Ai Weiwei, a famous Chinese contemporary artist and political activist, was arrested on 6th April and released on 22 June. And the banner is installed for demanding freedom for Ai Weiwei, which shows us the respect and protection for the artists of Germen.

From the article of Feng Xiaogang, a friend of Ai Weiwei and a famous Chinese director, I found Ai Weiwei is an interesting artist, who likes to put two independent things together. Most of these things are hard to think up together. For example, he put a basketball in to a big poly bag and threw it out of the window then watched it jumping on the street. Passers-by are attracted and confused by it. Based on this kind of creative and uninhibited personality Ai Weiwei hates to be disciplined. Thus he dislikes Chinese government’s control. His arrest also has some political reasons. There is a series of photographs of Ai Weiwei. In the pictures Ai Weiwei is naked only with a toll covering the middle. “The caption ‘grass mud horse covering the middle’ to Ai’s selfportrait sounds almost the same in Chinese as ‘Fuck your mother, the Communist party central committee.’”—Wikipedia.

I don’t like politics and don’t want to say much about it. But as I know there are also many German and American films reflect politics problems and sarcasm their authorities. I just think art should have some freedom. Why can't we leave a part of land for artists breathe like Berlin? Then I found traveling bring me not only across the border of fantasies and reality in Berlin, but also across the fantasies and reality in my own communities. I across the border of rumor and truth of both the destination and the place of departure.

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