Ai Weiwei Discusses The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster

Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei was recently a participating artist in the exhibition ‘Don’t Follow the Wind’ in three buildings within the Fukushima exclusion zone. The group exhibition was created by Japanese art collective Chim↑Pom?In honour of the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear disaster that devastated the region. Ai Weiwei spoke to The Creators Project about Fukushima, and his opinion of Nuclear power.

“I am an artist. My artistic method and also it’s—you could say that both subject matter and my methods are not confined to one style, but rather take many forms. Each piece is different, even styled with different time periods or problems that have caught my attention in mind. There is a big change.

I have a great many interests—from simple, experienced perceptions of daily life to more complicated themes like aesthetics or sociology. My work touches on all of these. I have pieces based on both written language and pictures. I have even done documentaries, installations, and sculptures. Sound-based pieces. Basically, I explore all modes of expression.

The nuclear leak in Fukushima, Japan was a really serious incident. Because, as we all know, satisfying modern energy needs in the world, and nuclear energy itself, both come with potential dangers. These are guaranteed to capture people’s attention because the devastation that could possibly result is massive. On this topic, everyone will feel worried for this world. Because we still use a large amount of nuclear energy. The potential dangers of it have always existed.

When this Japanese organisation [Chim↑Pom], an artist organisation, contacted me and asked me to do this piece, I told them that I really need at least half a year or more to finish.

As I was saying, it was the nuclear leak issue that caught my interest. In many ways, there was a connection between this program and my past work. One way was the themes that this piece touched on and how it touched on some real-life problems. For me, this was very new.

I was very interested in the possibility of this project’s development. All pieces of art themselves are some kind of invasion. Their relationship is a kind of disturbance or invasion of reality. They call into question or pose questions to reality. Or sometimes they are a kind of criticism. My work also has this kind of function.

Nuclear radiation itself is a threat to humanity—a disaster. Then, the mode of expression for this disaster should have an appropriate relationship to it. I think that nuclear energy and nuclear radiation are problems for all of humanity, a collective issue. It is not limited by nationality.”

About The Creators Project:

The Creators Project is a global celebration of creativity, arts and technology. Launched in 2009 with Intel as founding partner, the platform features the works of visionary artists across multiple disciplines who are using technology to push the boundaries of creative expression.

Photo: P A Black © 2015

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