Ai Weiwei Turns Tweets Into Art/ Makes Us Feel Inadequate
More than any other social network, Twitter has become synonymous with political activism, news, redefining blackness, embarrassingly bad tweets, and art. Renowned and politically controversial artist Ai Weiwei has gone the route of art with his new installation called An Archive. The massive collection of tweets span four years from 2009 to 2013 and allegedly contains “more meaningful writings than Confucius or Lao Tzu ever wrote,” according to the artist.
I can definitely relate to that bold statement. My first tweet in August 2013 is fit for printing out and framing in an art gallery. It reads: “I’m so gay for red moscato.” Beautiful, graceful, and understated. Enough about my artistic brilliance though. The Weiwei collab will have to wait.
Weiwei’s new installation is profound because of the physicality of it as well as the underlying political implications. He had been using Twitter as an outlet to protest the Chinese government before being banned from the platform. Now the revolutionary archive of tweets has been printed onto rice paper and placed in a massive stack for the group art show Go East: The Gene and Brian Sherman Contemporary Asian Art Collection, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
“Although they are just my writings on Twitter, they relate to certain events and the discussions between readers and myself,” Ai WeiWei declared. “It is like water flowing in front of us. There is a need to record it like a novel or like a piece of history.”
While he continues using water metaphors for his tweets, I’ll make like Jesus and turn my tweet water into wine—red moscato to be specific.
Photo by Jenni Carter for AGNSW.