China Says no to Artist’s Self-Surveillance
On Tuesday, Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist and activist, set up five surveillance cameras in his studio and streamed the footage to Weiweicam.com. The goal was to let friends and fans know how we was doing on the one year anniversary of his last arrest.
It was also to let authorities check in on him.
Via the Guardian:
“It is the exact day, one year ago, that I went missing for 81 days. All my family and friends and everyone who cared were wondering where this guy was. So on the anniversary I think people may have worries. It’s a gift to them: I’m here and you can see me,” he said…
…”This is also a gift to public security because they follow me, tap my phone and do what is necessary to get ‘secrets’ from me. I don’t have secrets,” Ai said, poiting out there were now 15 surveillance cameras within a 100m stretch of road outside his home, making it the most-watched area of Beijing.
Today, Weiweicam.com is down after authorities objected to the live feed.
“There was no clear explanation, but there was no clear explanation of why I was detained for 81 days, so it would be ridiculous to ask them,” Ai tells the Guardian. “When I turned the cameras on myself and on to my privacy — which is exactly what they did to me when I was in detention — they got scared and didn’t know how to handle it.”
Image: Marble Surveillance Camera, by Ai Weiwei. The 2010 sculpture mocks the 15 surveillance cameras outside his home. Via Minimal Exposition.