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AI WEIWEI'S

MIDDLE FINGER

STUDY OF PERSPECTIVE

The world renown artist and activist, Ai Weiwei has been a vocal and openly critical of the Chinese government’s stance on democracy and human rights. His work has captured global attention and served to bring attention to social injustices, human rights violations and systemic violence. Ai never shies away from saying what he truly feels and he encourages people to state exactly what they want. And that’s what he did in his project named Study of Perspective.

 

'Study of Perspective' is a photographic series by Ai Weiwei, in different locations around the world from 1995 to 2017. The series consist of Ai Weiwei raising his middle finger to many monuments and landmarks around the globe. He mimics tourist photos and questions their adherence and acceptance of governments and establishments. 

Most of the time the institutions he is pointing towards are the ones that tend to stop or abide free speech, people empowerment or the democratic values in our society. Ai constantly shows a reminder that we need to represent our own values and not those created by others. Instead of using a flat surface to showcase his ideas, the artist focuses on the idea of interjecting his photos with a way to protest against many of the things that go wrong in China1 and other countries. That’s why he only points at buildings, not at people. He understands that people are the ones that will be able to change things and move them around in a truly interesting manner. Most of the time the institutions he is pointing towards are the ones that tend to stop or abide free speech, people empowerment or the democratic values in our society.

The series achieved worldwide recognition following Ai posting the images on his blog2 (2005-2009). Due to its popularity, Ai was detained and questioned at length in 20113 by the Chinese police, with all the questions, pointed towards the Tiananmen photo. Following Ai’s detention, other people began to post similar images of themselves on the internet as a signal of solidarity. His work has not only brought attention to a number of social issues but has garnered support and inspired other activities. Of course, the Tiananmen photo is totally banned4 from appearing in any Chinese media.

 

 

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