Ai lives with his family, including his wife and young son. He said life is returning to a semblance of normality. On Friday, the artist was somewhat preoccupied with a missing cat, one of many that he keeps on his compound. "This cat always wants to escape. He's a very smart cat," he said. "I don't know if I should congratulate him or keep worrying."
In art circles, Ai is known for his impish sense of humor. One of his best-known photographic series features a middle finger raised at various national monuments around the world.
Ai said his sense of humor has helped him endure the last few months: "Humor is important. It helps you deal with immense pressure and uncertainty. It brings you back to the ordinary."
The artist concluded the conversation with a few words to American viewers who may be experiencing his work for the first time.