I’m not really sure what to make of this one. A few days ago Ai Weiwei released a video of himself and his friends jumping and dancing to the tune of Gangnam Style, with clips from the original video spliced in with footage from Ai’s studio. Honestly, it seemed pretty low-effort by Ai’s standards, and was almost disappointing given the possibilities of what Ai could do with that song and idea if he put some time in.
On the other hand, Reuters is now reporting that China went on a censorship spree to take the video down and delete all references to it from the Chinese net. I feel like that almost redeems the video- if the most bland, inoffensive statement ever made gets pulled down, and of a song and video that are all over the airwaves already in China at that, then the censors have come out looking unusually ridiculous, even for them.
Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei criticized the government on Thursday for removing from Chinese websites his parody of Korean pop sensation Psy’s Gangnam Style video.
Ai, a world-renowned artist and China’s most prominent dissident, and staff of his company performed Psy’s famous horse dance in his Beijing studio and posted the video late on Wednesday to Chinese sites such as “Tudou”, the equivalent of the blocked YouTube site.
Ai, 55, called the video “Caonima”. “Caonima” means “grass mud horse” but the word, which sounds like a very crude insult, has also been taken on by Chinese Internet users, and by Ai himself, and featured in postings mocking the government’s online controls.
“We only filmed for a bit over 10 minutes but we used a whole day to edit, and eventually put it online at midnight,” Ai told Reuters.
“After we had uploaded it, a few hours later … we found that a lot of people, tens of thousands, had already watched it. Now, in China, it has already been totally removed, deleted entirely, and you can’t see it in China,” Ai said.
“Overall, we feel that every person has the right to express themselves, and this right of expression is fundamentally linked to our happiness and even our existence,” Ai said.
“When a society constantly demands that everyone should abandon this right, then the society becomes a society without creativity. It can never become a happy society.”
On the one hand, there wasn’t much creativity being exercised in Ai’s video… but on the other hand, it still got deleted, so Ai was proven right in spite of himself almost.