Thursday, 25 March 2010

Ai Weiwei “Freedom is a high-risk business”

Tate Modern announced this month that one of the most influential Chinese contemporary artists Ai Weiwei is going to design an installation for the Turbine Hall this year from October to April 2011. The first ever artist living and working in the Asia-Pacific region to be commissioned for the series.

Born in 1957 in Beijing, Ai spent over 10 years in New York before returning to Beijing to establish the experimental artists’ group East Village. Today Ai’s better described as a social and cultural commentator, a political activist, an architect and a critic whose work encompasses a wide range of challenging and often provocative activity, from smashing antique Ching vases to gathering 1001 Chinese to ‘colonizing’ the German town Kassel. Ai is critical of the Chinese political state and has recently been ‘attacked’ by Chinese police in an attempt to stopping him from attending protests.

His most recent work involves installing a video camera to record the journey of the famous Danish Little Mermaid, which is making a remarkable trip from Copenhagen to Shanghai to attend the World Expo so that 70 million people can experience the iconic symbol of the Danish capital. The 5 foot statue has been cut loose and lifted onto a truck at a ceremony today but the exact route she is taking remains a secret.

While the Mermaid is on vacation, Ai has placed a video camera on her spot at the harbour to document and reveal the scenes she encounters. Lord Mayor of the City of Copenhagen Frank Jensen says: “We are proud to lend the Little Mermaid to China. I am convinced that she will be an excellent ambassador of Denmark...At the same time I am delighted that Ai Weiwei’s video installation will make it possible for the Danes to follow her throughout her journey.”

The Little Mermaid is unable to comment today but considering that she has never left Denmark since she was born in 1913 and was twice beheaded and had her arm cut off, we think the holiday is long overdue. Freedom is indeed a risky business, even when you are a statue.

To see the free broadcast of the video footages, visit
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Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Not Your Average Pet

“We are Pet Conspiracy, we are from China but we don’t eat pets”, such is the introduction to this young and bold electroclash band from Beijing, led by Helen Feng, an America fed and educated Chinese and an Italian drummer Edo. Now “Queen of the Beijing Rock scene”, Feng has released several EPs while with Pet and other bands, including the nostalgic Depot and club friendly Don’t You Move.

Formed in 2008, with over 250 gigs under the belt, the Pets are ambitious and aiming high. Simian, Crystal Castles and LCD Sound Systems are the names they often mention. Already toured in Berlin and several major cities in Europe in 09, their up and coming show is at Beijing Yugong Yishan supporting the almighty Peaches on the 24th of April. Expect to see some jumping off stage, pulling down speakers and tipping over monitors as a warm-up for Peaches from these naughty Pets. A destructive London visit is surely looming up this year.
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The Knife, “Overwhelming, shaken but not afraid”

Although by no means a typical The Knife album, their latest work is highly praised by critics and fans. The ground breaking opera-electro album inspired by the life and work of Charles Darwin bears little trace of previous hits such as Silent Shout and Heartbeats, and is not a one-off studio recording session in the conventional sense. It is an ongoing theatre show first staged in September 2009 in Copenhagen, production of the Danish performance company Hotel Pro Forma which is probably more known in the arts and theatre circle.

Tomorrow, In a Year is only one of their many projects to fuse opera with art and theatre, dance and visual elements. Three singers and six dancers perform the two acts in which the first part explores the sequences and relationships between image, narrative, movement and music, whereas the second act brings all the visual and sound elements together from which new forms and evolvements of the story emerge.

The theatre show is coming to Munster on the 5th of June 2010 having already staged successfully in Athens andStockholm earlier this year.

Colouring of Pigeons by HomoRobotico
For more field recordings in Amazon and Iceland, instrumental intimation of birds and winds, and stunning soprano vocals, stream the full album on the Rabid Records website
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