In conversation with Amale Andraos, Dean of Columbia GSAPP
and Carol Becker, Dean of Columbia School of the Arts
Ai Weiwei is a globally renowned artist, activist, and the most famous Chinese dissident of his generation. Mr. Ai uses documentary film, sculpture, architecture, photography, social media, and government processes themselves as media to highlight social justice issues and humanitarian crises. An early adopter of the blog and social media as conceptual tools, Weiwei has made public the Chinese government’s violation of his rights as a platform to bring awareness to the omnipresence of surveillance and to advocate for government responsibility.
His “Citizens Investigation” which documented the thousands of Chinese school children who died when the buildings they inhabited collapsed during the Sichuan earthquake of 2008 brought his artwork and activism to global prominence. The recent surveillance themed Hansel and Gretel installation at the Park Avenue Armory which employed drone and motion sensing technologies continued his collaborative relationship with architects Herzog and de Meuron whom he also worked with on the 2008 Beijing National Stadium and Ordos 100 project. The proposed master plan for Ordos, where 100 architects including the firm workAC, co-founded by GSAPP’s Dean Amale Andraos’ and also faculty member Hilary Sample of MOS, among others were invited to design 1000 square meter villas. The project was conceptualized as an opportunity to convene discussions of the possibilities of architecture in an increasingly globalized future.
His work has also highlighted immigration as one of the most urgent of global crises of our time. The Public Arts Fund installation Good Fences Make Good Neighbors on view at several sites throughout New York City starting on October 12th and throughout the fall is a literal and metaphorical representation of the tense, divisive sociopolitical environment both in the United States and abroad as governments struggle with mass migration and ideological differences. Ai speaks at the School on occasion of the installation's opening, which is his most ambitious public art piece to date.
This event is sold out. A waiting line for those without tickets opens at 5pm on college walk, entry is not guaranteed to non-ticket holders. Co-Presented by Columbia GSAPP and Columbia School of the Arts.