The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Ai Weiwei’s odd ‘Gangnam Style’ parody

Placeholder while article actions load

No matter how high his international stature rises, Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei never seems to take himself too seriously. That's my takeaway, anyway, from his parody of the South Korean pop hit "Gangnam Style."

Well, it's sort of a parody. Ai and his team donned some pink clothes and jumped around to the song's audio, splicing in some shots from the video (with its star, Psy, always cut out).

At one point, the artist starts waving a set of handcuffs, which he later uses to attach himself to another man in the video. I can't claim to understand the significance of this, if there is any. Chinese police arrested Ai for almost three months in 2011 and later placed him under house arrest. Does anyone have any insight to this, or is it just Ai having a bit of fun?

Update: Answer here.

Ai showed his more serious side to the New Yorker's Evan Osnos, who just posted video of his interview with the artist.

A poignant moment comes about eight minutes in, when Osnos asks Ai, "Have you thought about how you will explain your life to [your son]?"

Ai: I had a very funny notion during my detention, even after or now: I want my son to grow slower. I don't want him to be mature too soon, to understand what I'm doing.

Osnos: Because it's impossible to explain it?

Ai: It doesn't really make sense to me. Of course I don't want to teach my children a sense of suffering, it's not necessary. It doesn't have to be this way.