Ai WeiWei, Dumbass, 5:51, 2012
BEIJING, June 22, 2013 – The Ai Weiwei Studio released Ai Weiwei’s first music album, The Divine Comedy, today to commemorate the second anniversary of his release from an 81-day secret detention.
Ai Weiwei’s work is a constant reflection on the struggle of protecting human rights and the freedom of expression in China. His frequent run-ins with the Chinese government eventually led to his 81-day secret detention between April and June 2011. This led to high-profile protests from international media, the diplomatic and art community, and the public at large. Ai was released on June 22, yet around the same time the government proposed amendments to its criminal procedure law, article 83, stating that the police may put suspects for subversion of state power under house arrest at secret locations without notice to his/her family members. The move was widely believed to be a response to Ai’s ordeal.
According to Ai, the music video for Dumbass is a precise and detailed simulation of the prison he was in. Every detail in the room was reconstructed; even the soldier’s uniform was custom-made. The video dives in and out between the prison’s reality and the soldier’s fantasies, it is surreal yet realistic.
Dumbass features vocals and lyrics by Ai Weiwei and music by Zuoxiao Zuzhou. Ai Weiwei is an artist and activist. He currently resides and works in Beijing.