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'Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry' documentary campaign elicits digital art

June 12, 2012|By Chris Barton
  • artist Ai Weiwei in a scene from Alison Klayman's new movie 'Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.'
artist Ai Weiwei in a scene from Alison Klayman's new movie 'Ai… (Sundance Selects )

Chinese artist-activist Ai Weiwei may be still under house arrest by Chinese authorities, but the march toward the film documenting his art and actions continues.

A Sundance Jury Prize-winner at this year's festival, "Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry" opens in New York on July 27, and a recently released trailer showcases the movie's mix of fly-on-the-wall storytelling and talking head interviews under the direction of freelance journalist and first-time filmmaker Alison Klayman.

The trailer opens on a viral-video-friendly note in featuring one of the artist's cats pulling off the exceptional trick of opening a closed door. The remainder of the spot draws a parallel with Ai's own efforts in questioning his home country's actions through his provocative art.

As part of the ramp-up toward the release, the film's producers have launched a campaign on social networks with the hashtag #RaiseYourFinger, inviting fans of the artist to submit photographs of themselves giving a middle-finger salute to symbols of injustice, an homage to one of Ai's pieces that included photos of the artist giving the bird to Beijing's Tiananmen Square and Olympic stadium.

Participants are asked to submit their photos via Facebook or Twitter. The photos will be assembled into a mosaic and given to Ai upon his release, scheduled for June 22. Given that Ai's recent history with the Chinese government included 81 days of incarceration (as documented in the film), that release date remains a cliffhanger of its own.


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