On the one year anniversary of Ai Weiwei’s detention the controversial Chinese artist has set up a live feed in his studio so that his fans, and more importantly the police, can always know what he’s up to.
A year ago today Weiwei went missing for 81 days, while family, friends and fans wondered where the artist had disappeared to he was being held at Beijing airport by officials and questioned apparently over tax evasion. The detention came at the same time as a number of other activists seemed to ‘disappear’.
Now the 54 year old artist has installed four webcams in his studio so that people can watch a live feed of what he is up to whenever they like 24 hours a day. Speaking of the move Weiwei said, ‘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 went on to add, ‘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. They want to watch me day and night. We have four cameras inside so they can see clearly what I am doing and make sure they are happy with it.’
There’s no word at the moment about how long the cameras will stay up but it certainly sounds like Weiwei has a point to make so no doubt they’ll be up and running for some time to come.
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