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May 22, 2013

Ai Weiwei Releases Provocative Heavy Rock Music Video

by VOA News

Chinese rebel artist and rights activist Ai Weiwei has released a provocative new heavy rock music video that recreates his 81 days in secretive police detention.

The five-minute video posted online Wednesday is full of raunchy images and symbols that will likely upset China's communist leaders, who have long viewed the dissident artist with disdain.

The video depicts Ai being interrogated by police while handcuffed and covered with a black hood in a cell he says is an exact replica of where he was held during his 2011 detention.

In some scenes, he is wearing lipstick and a dress, shaved off his hair and signature straggly beard. Some of the less explicit lyrics compare China to a prostitute.

Ai says he wrote the song as a way to deal with the trauma he experienced during his detention on tax-related charges, which he says was actually punishment for his activism. He dedicated the song to Chinese dissidents with similar experiences.



The music was composed by Beijing-based heavy-metal musician Zuoxiao Zuzhou. Famed Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle helped Ai produce the video.

It is Ai's first attempt at music. He is better known for his sculptures, photography and installations that are exhibited worldwide.

Ai will release the rest of the album, titled Divine Comedy, next month. He says it will include songs about China's strict Internet censorship and other issues about which he has regularly criticized the government.