Ai Weiwei’s censored parody of the famous South Korean music video ‘Gangnam Style’ has created a special Internet trend: solidarity dance videos
In October 2012, China’s best-known dissident artist Ai Weiwei presented a music video on the net, ‘Ai Weiwei does gangnam style’, dancing with handcuffs to symbolise Beijing’s efforts to silence him, which was removed almost immediately from the Chinese Internet. (More about the incident here)
Several of the world’s largest art institutions and a number of world-famous artists have since presented their own solidarity videos on the net as a tribute to Ai Weiwei.
For instance, Amnesty International joined up with the world-famous Indian-born sculptor Anish Kapoor and a crew of 400 activists, art patrons and artists to raise awareness of the limits on free speech for Gao, Ai WeiWei, and many others speaking out in China.
“Our film aims to make a serious point about freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It is our hope that this gesture of support for Ai Weiwei and all prisoners of conscience will be wide-ranging and will help to emphasise how important these freedoms are to us all,” stated Anish Kapoor.
In a part of the video, footage shows staff from contemporary art museums in the United States and Europe performing the dance moves of ‘Gangnam Style’ in solidarity with imprisoned human rights activists: Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum and Tate.
According to Amnesty International, Anish Kapoor’s dance video, which was recorded in his studio in London, has won the support of various human rights organisations including Liberty, Index on Censorship and The Helen Bamber Foundation.
Right of expression linked to happiness
“Overall, we feel that every person has the right to express themselves, and this right of expression is fundamentally linked to our happiness and even our existence. When a society constantly demands that everyone should abandon this right, then the society becomes a society without creativity. It can never become a happy society,” Ai Weiwei was quoted by Reuters as saying.
A “force for world peace”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has hailed the song as a “force for world peace”, and it has become a source of parodies and reaction videos by many different groups, organisations and individuals, performing the dance moves of ‘Gangnam Style’ in a context of political and social messages.
The global grassroots network Students for a Free Tibet uploaded a parody of ‘Gangnam Style’ to show its support for the Tibetan independence movement.