Age of Dissent

Collectively a chronicle of self-amplifying dissent, Chinese art-star and activist Ai Weiwei interprets politics in aesthetic terms and vice versa in tonight's screening of five rare films, Documentaries of Ai Weiwei. In Disturbing the Peace, and its sequel of sorts, So Sorry, governmental response to the catastrophic Sichuan earthquake adds the insult of intimidation to the injury of incompetence, provoking Weiwei into a hostile contest of mutual scrutiny. Confronting the shady surveillance operatives who always seem to follow him around, he demands, “How many piles of dog shit did the government fucking feed you?” Even Weiwei’s less aggressive work tracks human resistance to managerial subjugation: Ordos 100 invites a hundred architects from 27 countries to plan a city in the windswept dunes of inner Mongolia; Fairytale invites a thousand and one average Chinese citizens to visit the German hometown of the Brothers Grimm, where viewers find China’s cultural crossroads partly paved by the glum bureaucracy of globalization. Weiwei’s affronted mischief earned him a three-month detention last year, followed by house arrest until just a couple of weeks ago. But his spiky celebrity only grows, making good on the promise of problems with authority.
Sundays, 2 p.m. Starts: July 8. Continues through July 29, 2012

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