In "Weiwei-isms," we see Ai Weiwei at his best; the upcoming pocket-sized account on Princeton University Press features nearly 150 pages of the Chinese artist's infamously short quips, collected from tweets, articles and interviews. "Twitter is my city," the dissident artist famously declared in an interview with Foreign Policy earlier this year. "I can talk to anybody I want to. And anybody who wants to talk to me will get my response."
Ai has become quite accustomed to broadcasting his thoughts on democracy, human rights and artistic freedom on social media under the humble handle, @aiww. Tweeting on average about seven or eight times a day, as well as keeping his blog active with videos and posts, Ai saturates the net with his succinct yet eloquent views. With over 180,000 followers, he might as well be mayor of his boundless city.
"Weiwei-isms" is modeled after "The Little Red Book," a collection of pithy quotes by Mao Tse-Tung. The little black book tips its hat to the former Chinese leader's laconic prose when Weiwei jokes, "Chairman Mao was the first in the world to use Twitter. All his quotations are within 140 words."
Weiwei's appreciation of virtual communication makes sense, given that he was jailed for 81 days after actively voicing his opposition to the Chinese government in 2011. Though he was officially detained for "economic crimes," Weiwei maintains that authorities were against his openly provocative protests of Communist leadership, which took the form of art exhibits, demonstrations and "citizen's investigations." The Internet community is simply a safer place for the defiant artist to continue his activism, as thorny and guarded as the Chinese web might be. But it's also a platform on which he thrives, a fact that "Weiwei-isms" isn't shy to point out.
Scroll through the slideshow below to see a preview of some of the Weiwei-isms featured in the book, which is set to hit shelves December 12. Let us know what you think of the social media fiend in the comments section.
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