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Main Street Liberal

Posted: November 27, 2016 at 9:53 am

Question: what do public education, public roads, and earned benefits have in common with each other?

Answer: They all are in danger in the upcoming presidency of the great populist and (white) working-class hero, Donald Trump.

Trump has announced that he is nominating Betsy DeVos, a member of the DeVos family of Michigan, which rivals the Koch family of Kansas in its wealth and dedication to right-wing, corporatist causes. Tierney Sneed of Talking Points Memo reports

Much of DeVos political activity has been focused on the expansion of charter schools and school vouchers, putting her selection in line with Trumps campaign proposal to shift $20 billion in federal education funding into state block grants to enroll children in charter and private schools. The DeVos family bankrolled a failed 2000 Michigan ballot initiative that would have required that students enrolled in failing public school districts be offered vouchers for private school tuition. Though the measure was rejected soundly by voters, the DeVoses doubled down on the issue and formed a political action committee to support pro-voucher candidates nationwide, according to ChalkBeat, a nonprofit news organization focused on education. They also operate philanthropic organizations known for giving to entities aligned with the charter school movement, including faith-based schools and conservative think tanks, Inside Philanthropy reported.

Charter schools usually are not good for students, but generally profitable for the private companies sponsoring them- with taxpayer money. That sounds like the motivation for Donald Trump’s transportation plan, under which as currently written

the federal government would offer tax credits to private investors interested in funding large infrastructure projects, who would put down some of their own money up front, then borrow the rest on the private bond markets. They would eventually earn their profits on the back end from usage fees, such as highway and bridge tolls (if they built a highway or bridge) or higher water rates (if they fixed up some water mains). So instead of paying for their new roads at tax time, Americans would pay for them during their daily commute. And of course, all these private developers would earn a nice return at the end of the day.

At least Trump was less antagonistic during the primary campaign toward earned benefits than were most of his rivals. Now that he has been elected, however, that is beginning to change. Jonathan Chait observes that in a Fox News interview with Brett Baier

Your solution has always been to put things together, including entitlement reform, says Baier, using Republican code for privatizing Medicare. Ryan replies, If youre going to repeal and replace Obamacare, you have to address those issues as well. Medicare has got some serious issues because of Obamacare. So those things are part of our plan to replace Obamacare.

Chait notes, however, “The Medicare trust fund has been extended 11 years as a result of the passage of Obamacare, whose cost reforms have helped bring health care inflation to historic lows. It is also untrue that repealing Obamacare requires changing traditional Medicare.”

Ironies abound. Trump has gotten cold feet about deporting illegal immigrants, now asserting instead that his Administration will get tough on those who have committed crimes, which bears a curious resemblance to President Obama’s policy. He speaks now of his signature wall on the Mexican border as part wall, part fence, not unlike the current structure.

But Trump was portrayed as a different kind of Republican candidate, and expected to be a different kind of Republican President. Guess again. While focused on squeezing from the presidency as much income for his businesses as he can, Trump is embarking on a plan to intertwine the federal government with the market to enrich the private sector at the expense of the American public and make crony capitalism the hallmark of his Adminstration. (WARNING: Video below is from a conservative libertarian legal outfit.) The campaign cry of “Crooked Hillary” should now be seen as a case of a plutomaniac with a serious case of envy.

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How Psychedelics Saved My Life – Reset.me

Posted: at 9:49 am

by Amber Lyon

on May 28, 2014

Amber Lyon is an Emmy Award-winning former CNN investigative news correspondent.

I invite you to take a step back and clear your mind of decades of falsepropaganda. Governments worldwide lied to us about the medicinal benefits of marijuana. The public has also been misled about psychedelics.

These non-addictive substances- MDMA, ayahuasca, ibogaine, psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, and many more- are proven to rapidly and effectively help people heal from trauma, PTSD, anxiety, addiction and depression.

Psychedelicssaved my life.

I was drawn to journalism at a young age by the desire to provide a voice for the little guy. For nearly a decade working as a CNN investigative correspondent and independent journalist, I became a mouthpiece for the oppressed, victimized and marginalized. My path of submersion journalism brought me closest to the plight of my sources, by living the story to get a true understanding of what was happening.

Speaking ata press conference in Lebanon onthehuman rights abuses Iwitnessed while reporting in Bahrain.

After several years of reporting, I realized an unfortunate consequence of my style- I had immersed myself too deeply in the trauma and suffering of the people Id interviewed. I began to have trouble sleeping as their faces appeared in my darkest dreams. I spent too long absorbed in a world of despair and my inability to deflect it allowed the trauma of others to settle inside my mind and being. Combine that with several violent experienceswhile working in the field and I was at my worst. A life reporting on the edge had led me to the brinkof my own sanity.

Because I could not find a way to process my anguish, it grew into a monster, manifesting itself into a constant state of anxiety, short-term memory loss, sleeplessness, and hyper arousal. The heart palpitations made me feel like I was knocking on deaths door.

While at CNN, Iinvestigated human rights and environmental issues.

Prescription medications and antidepressants serve a purpose, butI knew they were not on mypath tohealing after my investigations exposed their sinister side effectsincluding infants being born dependent on the medicinesafter their mothers couldnt kick their addictions. Masking the symptoms of a deeper condition with a pill felt like putting a Band-Aid on bullet wound.

I was made aware of the potential healing powers of psychedelics as a guest on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast in October 2012. Joe told me psychedelicmushrooms transformed his life and had the potential to changethe course of humanity for the better. My initial reaction was one of amusement and somewhat disbelief, but the seed was planted.

Psychedelics were an odd choice for someone like me. I grew up in the Midwest and was fed 30 years of propaganda explaining how horrible these substances were for my health. You can imagine my jaw-dropping surprise when, after the Rogan podcast, I found articles on the prodigious effects of these substances that behave more like medicines than drugs. Articles like this one, this, this , this, and this. And studies such as this, this, this,this, this and this all gut-wrenching examples of how weve been misled by authorities who classify psychedelics as schedule 1 narcoticsthat have no medicinal value despite dozens of scientific studies proving otherwise.

Having only ever smoked the odd marijuana joint in college, in March 2013 I found myself boarding a plane to Iquitos, Peru to try one of the most powerful psychedelics on earth. I ditched my car at the airport, hastily packed my belongings in a backpack and headed down to the Amazon jungle placing my blind faith in a substance that a week ago I could hardly pronounce: ayahuasca.

Theayahuasca brew is prepared by combining chacruna leaves, that contain the powerful psychedelic DMT, with the ayahuasca vine.

Ayahuasca is a medicinal tea that contains the psychedeliccompound dimethyltryptamine, or DMT. The brewis rapidly spreading around the world after numerous anecdotes have shownthe brew has the power to cureanxiety, PTSD, depression, unexplained pain, and numerous physical and mental health ailments. Studies of long-term ayahuasca drinkersshow they are less likely to face addictions and have elevated levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitterresponsible for happiness.

If I had any reservations, doubts, or disbeliefs, they were quickly expelled shortly after my first ayahuasca experience. The foul-tasting tea vibrated throughmy veins and into my brainas the medicine scanned my body. My field of vision becameengulfed with fiercecolors and geometric patterns. Almost instantly, I saw a vision of a brick wall. The word anxiety was spray painted in large letters on the wall. You must heal your anxiety, the medicine whispered. I entereda dream-like state where traumatic memories were finally dislodged from my subconscious.

It was as if I was viewing a film ofmy entire life, not as the emotional me, but as an objective observer. The vividlyintrospective movie played in my mind asI relived my most painful scenes- my parents divorce when I was just 4 years-old, past relationships, being shot at by policewhile photographing a protest in Anaheim and crushed underneath a crowd while photographing a protest in Chicago. The ayahuasca enabled me to reprocess these events, detaching the fear and emotion from the memories. Theexperience was akin to ten years of therapy in one eight-hour ayahuasca session.

But theexperience, and many psychedelic experiences for that matter, was terrifying at times. Ayahuasca is not for everyone- you have to be willing to revisit some very dark places and surrender to the uncontrollable, fierceflow of the medicine. Ayahuascaalso causesviolent vomiting and diarrhea, which shamans call getting well because youare purging trauma from your body.

After seven ayahuasca sessions in the jungles of Peru, the fog that engulfed my mind lifted. I was able to sleep again and noticedimprovements in my memory and less anxiety. I yearned to absorb as much knowledge as possible about these medicines and spent the next year travelling the world in search of more healers, teachers and experiences through submersion journalism.

I was drawn totry psilocybin mushrooms after reading how they reduced anxiety in terminal cancer patients. The ayahuasca showed me my main ailmentwas anxiety, and I knew I still had work to do to fix it. Psilocybinmushroomsare not neurotoxic, nonaddictive, and studies show they reduce anxiety, depression, and even lead to neurogenesis, or the regrowth of brain cells. Why would governments worldwide keep such a profound fungiout of the reach of their people?

The curandera blesses me as Iconsume a leaf full of psilocybin mushrooms for the healing ceremony.

After Peru, I visited curanderas, or healers, in Oaxaca, Mexico. The Mazatecs have used psilocybinmushrooms as a sacrament and medicinally for hundreds of years. Curandera Dona Augustine served me a leaf full of mushrooms during a beautiful ceremony before a Catholic alter. As she sang thousand year-old songs, I watched the sunset over the mountainous landscape in Oaxaca and a deep sense of connectivity washed over my whole being. The innate beauty had me at a loss for words; a sudden outpouring of emotion had me in tears. I cried through the night and with each tear a small part of my trauma trickled down my cheek and dissolved onto the forest floor, freeing me from its toxic energy.

Psilocybin mushrooms are not neurotoxic, non-addictive, and a study from University of Southern Florida shows they can repair brain damage from trauma.

Perhaps most astounding, the mushrooms silenced the self-critical part of my mind long enough for me to reprocess memories without fear or emotion. The mushrooms enabled me to remember one of the most terrifying moments of my career: when I wasdetained at gunpoint in Bahrain while filming a documentary for CNN. I had lost any detailedrecollection of that daywhen masked men pointed guns at our heads andforced my crew and I onto the ground. Fora good half an hour, I did not know whether we were going to survive.

I spent many sleepless nights desperately searching for memories of that day, but they were locked inmy subconscious. Iknew the memoriesstill haunted me becauseanytime I would see PTSD triggers, such as loud noises, helicopters, soldiers, or guns, a rush of anxiety and panic would flood my body.

The psilocybin was the key to unlock the trauma, enabling me to relive the detainmentmoment to moment, from outside of my body, as an emotionless, objective observer. I peered into the CNNvan and saw my former selfsitting in the backseat, loud helicopters overhead. My producer Taryn was sitting to theright of me frantically trying to close the van door as we tried to make an escape. I heardTaryn screamguns! as armedmasked men jumpedout of the security vehicles surroundingthe van. I watched as Ifrantically dug through a backpack on the floor, grabbing my CNN ID card and jumpingout of thevan. I saw myself land on the groundin childs pose, dust covering mybody and face. Iwatched as I threw myhand with the CNN badge in the air above myhead yelling CNN, CNN, dont shoot!!

I saw the pain in my face as the security forces threw human rights activist and dear friend Nabeel Rajab against a security car and began to harass him. I saw the terror in my faceas I glanced down at my shirt, arms in the air, prayingthe video cardsconcealed on my body wouldnt fall onto the ground.

During the ceremony the psilocybin unlocks traumatic memories stored deep in my subconscious so I can process them and heal. The experience is intensely introspective.

As I relived each moment of the detainment, I reprocessed each memory moving it from the fear folder to its new permanent home in the safe folder in my brains hard drive.

Five ceremonies with psilocybin mushrooms cured my anxiety and PTSD symptoms. The butterflies that had a constant home in my stomach have flown away.

Psychedelics are not the be-all and end-all. For me, theywere the key that openedthe door to healing. I still have to work to maintain the healing with the use of floatationtanks, meditation, and yoga. For psychedelics to be effective, its essential they are taken with the right mindset in a quiet, relaxed setting conducive to healing, and that all potential prescription drug interactions are carefully researched. Itcan be fatalif Ayahuasca is mixed with prescription antidepressants.

I was blessed with an inquisitive nature and a stubbornness to always question authority. Had I opted for a doctors script and resigned myself in the hope that things would just get better, I never would have discovered the outer reaches of my mind and heart. Had I drunk the Kool-Aid and believed that all drugs are evil and have no healing value, I may still be in the midst of a battle with PTSD.

This very world that glamorizes war, violence, commercialism, environmental destruction, and suffering has outlawed some of the most profound keys to inner peace. The War on Drugs is not based on science. If it was, two of the most deadly drugs on earth-alcohol and tobacco- would be illegal. Those suffering from trauma have become victims of this failed war and have lost one of the most effective ways to heal.

Humanity has gone mad as a result.

Lyon and a scientist cut open a fish stomach to inspect for plastic litter while filming a documentary on excessive ocean plastic pollution.

I spent ten years witnessing the collective insanity as a journalist on the frontlines- wars, bloodshed, environmental destruction, sex slavery, lies, addiction, anger, fear.

But I had it all wrong journalistically. I had beenfocusing on the symptoms of an ill society, rather than attacking the root cause: unprocessed trauma.

We all have trauma. Trauma rests in the violent criminal, the cheating spouse, the corrupt politician, those suffering from mental illness, addictions, inside those too fearful to take risks and reach their full potential.

If its not adequately processed and purged, trauma becomes cemented onto the hard drive of the mind, growing into a dark parasite that rears its ugly head throughout a persons entire life. The wounds keep us locked in a grid of fear, trapped behind a personality not true to the soul, working a mundane job rather than following a passion, repeating a cycle of abuse, destroying the environment, harming one another. The most common and severe suffering is inflicted during childhood and hijacks the drivers seat into adulthood, steering an individual down a road deprived ofhappiness. Renowned addiction expertGabor Mate says, The major cause of severe substance addiction is always childhood trauma.

We live in a world full of wounds and when left untreated, theyre unceremoniously handed from one generation to the next, so the cycle of trauma continues in all its destructive brutality.

But theres hope. We can transform the course of humanity by collectively purging our grief and healing at the individual level, with the help of psychedelic medicines. Once we collectively heal atthe individual level, we will see dramatic positive transformation in society as a whole.

I founded the websitereset.me, to produce and aggregate journalism on consciousness, natural medicines, and therapies. Psychedelic explorer Terrence McKenna compared taking psychedelics to hitting the reset button on your internal hard drive, clearing out the junk, and starting over. I created reset.me to help connect those who need to hit the reset button in life with journalism covering thetools that enableus to heal.

Its a human rights crisis psychedelics are not accessible to the general population. Its insane that governments worldwide have outlawedthe very medicines that can emancipate our souls from suffering.

Its time westop the madness.

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What is Ascension – The Secret Truth About

Posted: November 4, 2016 at 11:10 am

Our planet is moving out of a lower vibrating reality which is based in fear, hate, greed, confusion, control, manipulation, past, future and “negative” behaviors and belief systems and moving into a higher vibrating reality which is based on freedom, equality, peace, love and the present moment.

This means the “negative” structures and systems based on hate, greed, war, control, blame, etc will collapse and be replaced by new softer structures and systems which support freedom, equality, peace and love. Take a look at the economic collapse upon us.

Our current economy is based on greed, manipulation and control and this cannot exist in the new reality that we are moving into and becoming. This is not meant to be looked at as being personal or judgmental. The lower vibrations are not to be looked at as being bad or negative. They allowed us to learn from them. However, now it is time for us to move into a more free, effortless and peaceful reality.

As the planet moves into the higher vibrations the lower vibrations will naturally collapse and fall away. This is also happening on a personal level. You may feel the lower vibrating structures, beliefs, opinions and ideas of your ego collapsing and this may be why you are reading this in the first place. This can be a scary process at first but it gets easier and easier once you understand and trust whats happening.

There are two different flows going in two different directions currently. One is a material flow which is based on trying, doing, fighting, ownership, control, greed, manipulation, etc. The other is a natural/spiritual flow that is based on being, allowing, accepting, peace, equality and freedom. The planet is in the natural/spiritual flow and it is our ride.

If one chooses to be comfortable here on earth one would allow oneself to flow with the natural/spiritual flow at this time. The good news about this is this means all you need to do is be effortless and peaceful. No thinking or doing is involved, just remaining aware, peaceful and effortless in the present moment In other words “It’s up to YOU !”

Be free to feel, live and be natural. This is freedom. Never let others tell you how to feel, live or be. Hey! Who am I to tell you what to do?

Unfortunately we were conditioned and programmed all of our lives to go with the material flow and very few of us know how to stop and simply be natural/spiritual. Society does not encourage a natural/spiritual behavior. So this may be a challenge at first but once you are in the natural/spiritual flow the waters will carry you the rest of the way effortlessly. The material flow is now leaving our planet. Not to worry because I’m sure it will lead those who choose to follow it to where they need to go.

No one is ever where they are not meant to be. Note I had been looking for a simple version of the “Ascension” story which everyone could understand, and would answer the many questions people have -this information was found at TheWeatherMan http://www.nelabooks.webs.com

Untying Yourself from the Game Allow yourself to stop. Be still and know. By stopping you allow balance to occur.

You will naturally balance effortlessly by stopping and become the peace you have always been. Most people believe they are their bodies and or their thoughts, ideas, beliefs and opinions. This is not the case. The body has its own intelligence.

It knows how to breathe, sleep, digest, the heart beats, your eyes blink, etc. You may help the body but for the most part the body is your vehicle. You are the one animating the body. You are not the sensations and feelings in your body. You are the one experiencing/feeling them. You are not your thoughts, opinions and ideas. You are the one having and experiencing them. They are not you.

You are not all of your titles like mom, dad, doctor, happy, sad, loving, friendly good, ugly, etc. You are the one experiencing and playing the role of these titles. You are not events in your life. You were the witness to these events in your life. You are the one experiencing life and experiencing all of the above. You are the awareness in the present moment.

You are here and now and you will always only be the awareness here and now. If you learn to simply live in the here and now without distorting yourself and adding stories to yourself and the events happening in your life then you become effortless. The more you become effortless in the here and now the freer you are.

Drop everything and be awake in each and every moment. Things still occur. Life still goes on but you move through each moment with grace and ease. When you are not living in the here and now and your awareness is caught in the past or future you are adding struggle to your life. Having your awareness caught in the past or future also adds confusion to your life and supports the false beliefs that you are your past, future, titles, events, sensations, thoughts ideas, etc.

The struggle within us is the struggle we see manifested outside us in our lives. The more peaceful, clear and effortless you are on the inside. The smoother your life glides in the natural flow. Take some time to be still and find the One inside who is experiencing the present moment. You may be thinking now but who is seeing or hearing these thoughts? You may have sensations in the body. Who is feeling these sensations in the body? Rest in the One who is experiencing. The peacefulness and effortlessness you find experiencing everything is you. If you are this peace how can you take things personally? If you realize this and apply this and live this way your life will become softer and easier.

View the “Ascenscion Video HERE

What is Awareness?

Awareness is you. You can describe the amount of awareness you have by using an example of a light bulb. If you are awake and fully aware you are shining at 100%. The more you are caught in your thoughts and confused the less you shine.

Guilt, worry, hate, blame and mind activities like these take away your awareness and decrease your percentage of light. For instance, if you have a piano recital and you are worried, the worried energy can only make you play worse because it is taking away your clarity, peacefulness and effortlessness. The more awake and aware you are the more peaceful you are and the more peace you add your existence and the existence of all things.

How can I get through these changing times/ascension without suffering? Be effortless and live in the present moment. Stop playing all games and wake up.

If I am awake and aware but not worried about anything who will take care of all of the people suffering? Picture a huge boxing ring full of fighting, struggling and suffering. I’m standing on the outside of the ring saying to you. Here’s my hand. You can come out here. It’s safe, you can get water, you can sit down, there’s peace. You are close to getting out of the ring but you are still taking punches and seeing all the blood and you are saying but if I leave who’s going to help all of these people?

Well if you leave you will still see the suffering, you will still see the blood but you won’t be taking punches. Then if you choose to once you’ve rested and gotten yourself Awake and Aware enough, you can turn around and put your hand into the ring and yell, “Hey, over here! You don’t know to do that!” By you leaving the ring there’s is more space/peace in the ring, less people fighting and one less person adding chaos to the situation.

It still helps greatly to leave the ring even if you were just adding a little bit of struggle to the fight. More peace and space is available.

By you leaving the ring we all win. Continue on to “How do I Wake Up?”

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Elon Musk shares new details on plan to colonize Mars …

Posted: October 27, 2016 at 11:57 am

Elon Musk addresses the International Astronautical Congress, Sept. 27, 2016.

SpaceX

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has given more details about his plan to colonize Mars.

Play Video

Space entrepreneur and Tesla founder Elon Musk unveiled a plan this week for putting a permanent human colony on the red planet. Musk estimates i…

Musk answered what he called great questions in a RedditAsk Me Anything session on Sunday. Many of the questions were highly technical, coming from SpaceX fans who have been following Musks public plans for colonization since the beginning.

The session was a follow up to Musks comments at a space conference in Mexico last month during which he unveiled his plan to send up to one million people to Mars over the next 100 years.

In that speech, Musk said that his companys rocket, spacecraft and economies of scale would bring the cost of Mars travel down to $200,000 per ticket compared to $10 billion per ticket, the estimate in todays dollars for sending an astronaut using the Apollo moon mission architecture.

Musk envisions 1,000 passenger ships flying en masse to the red planet, Battlestar Galactica style.

He elaborated on that plan Sunday, explaining that first an unmanned ship will be sent to Mars with equipment to build a plant to create refueling propellant for return trips to Earth. He says the first manned mission would have the job of constructing the plant.

The initial crew would comprise about a dozen people. After that, Musk wrote, he hopes to double the number of flights with each Earth-Mars orbital rendezvous, which is every 26 months, until the city can grow by itself.

Musk said last month SpaceX is already working on equipment for the project.

2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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ROBOTC | Robotics Academy

Posted: October 25, 2016 at 7:41 am

Online Professional Development Courses Start this February!

Online Professional Development Courses Start this February! We are excited to announce our latest online training schedule! Classes start in February and you can enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation! Register for a class here! Benefits of Robotics Academy Online Training Courses:

The latest chapter within the VEX CORTEX Video Trainer Curriculum is now available Competition Programming!Located in the Engineering Section,this chapterincludes lessons designed to help students prepare their programs for a VEX Competition. Some of the lessons youll learn within this chapter includes: Creating a Competition Legal Program with the

The latest chapter within our VEX CORTEX Video Trainer Curriculum is now available Using the LCD!Located in the Sensing section, this chaptercovers how to configure and implement the LCD as a useful tool in your program. Some of the lessons youll learn within this chapter includes: Three steps to

We are excited to share our latest chapter available within our VEX CORTEX Video Trainer Curriculum Gyro Sensor!Located in the Sensing section, this chapter will allow you toto turn the robot by measurements of degrees. Some of the lessons youll learn within this chapter includes: How the Gyro Sensor

We are excited to announce our Fallonline training schedulethatstarts in September! The Robotics Academy is a world leader in robotics education and trains teacher internationally. Enjoy the convenience of taking Robotics Academy courses without leaving your own computer workstation. Robotics Academy online training includes: Online access to supplemental lessons from

We are excited to share our latest chapter available within out VEX CORTEX Video Trainer Curriculum Integrated Encoders! Located in the Movement section, this chapter will allow you to increase movement accuracy and automatic movement corrections. Some of the lessons youll learn within this chapter includes: Introduction to the

Our Robotics Summer of Learning (RSOL) opens today! This summer, students have the opportunity to learn how to program virtual robots using a FREE copy of Robot Virtual Worldswhere they can program VEX IQor LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3virtual robots.All RSOL courses are self-paced with e-mail support available at rsol@cs2n.org. Sign

We are proud to announce the return of our Robotics Summer of Learning program!This summer, students have the opportunity to learn how to program robots, earn a programming certificate and badges, and play with cool software for FREE!We will provide all of the software and training materials at no cost

Our on-site (in Pittsburgh, PA) and online Summer Professional Development classes for VEX CORTEX, VEX IQ, and LEGO MINDSTORMS are filling up quickly. Register todayto make sure you get into your preferred course (listed below!) Highlights of the Robotics Academy Training: Acquire new skills with technology and new ways to

My name is Ringo Dingrando and I teach Robotics and Physics at International School Manila in the Philippines. For the past three years, high school students have been inquiring into how to program using ROBOTC and how to use their programming skills to build robots, often with VEX hardware. In

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Home | Discover Oil & Gas | Rigzone

Posted: October 23, 2016 at 4:25 am

EMPLOYMENT

COLUMN: How to Get Noticed by Young Recruiters

A public relations blogger offers tips for seasoned pros in her industry. How well do they apply to oil and gas candidates?

O&G

Iran is Open for the Oil Business – Sort Of

Hunger for Iran’s cheap oil will lure some foreign companies, but questions remain on how much it will cost commodity prices.

TECHNOLOGY

Digital Technology to Transform Oil, Gas Hiring Practices

Industry insiders discuss the skill sets that oil and gas companies will need as they move towards digitalization.

VIDEO

Passive Aggressive Behaviors to Avoid at Work

Rigzone highlights common workplace behaviors that are considered to be passive aggressive.

Rigzone tracks the worldwide offshore rig fleet through its proprietary RigLogix database, and we make some of the key rig fleet data available to you here. You’ll find information on offshore rig utilization, day rates, contracts, equipment specs, and much more.

The Rigzone Equipment Market brings buyers and sellers of oilfield equipment including land rigs, offshore rigs, drilling equipment, production equipment, and more in a seamless, worldwide exchange.

Outside Plant Services

FUEL TANK

Location: HOUSTON, TX OUR YARD Condition: USED GOOD Price: $9500.00

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Artificial intelligence positioned to be a game-changer – CBS …

Posted: October 13, 2016 at 5:27 am

The following script is from Artificial Intelligence, which aired on Oct. 9, 2016. Charlie Rose is the correspondent. Nichole Marks, producer.

The search to improve and eventually perfect artificial intelligence is driving the research labs of some of the most advanced and best-known American corporations. They are investing billions of dollars and many of their best scientific minds in pursuit of that goal. All that money and manpower has begun to pay off.

In the past few years, artificial intelligence — or A.I. — has taken a big leap — making important strides in areas like medicine and military technology. What was once in the realm of science fiction has become day-to-day reality. Youll find A.I. routinely in your smart phone, in your car, in your household appliances and it is on the verge of changing everything.

Play Video

On 60 Minutes Overtime, Charlie Rose explores the labs at Carnegie Mellon on the cutting edge of A.I. See robots learning to go where humans can’…

It was, for decades, primitive technology. But it now has abilities we never expected. It can learn through experience — much the way humans do — and it wont be long before machines, like their human creators, begin thinking for themselves, creatively. Independently with judgment — sometimes better judgment than humans have.

The technology is so promising that IBM has staked its 105-year-old reputation on its version of artificial intelligence called Watson — one of the most sophisticated computing systems ever built.

John Kelly, is the head of research at IBM and the godfather of Watson. He took us inside Watsons brain.

Charlie Rose: Oh, here we are.

John Kelly: Here we are.

Charlie Rose: You can feel the heat already.

John Kelly: You can feel the heat — the 85,000 watts you can hear the blowers cooling it, but this is the hardware that the brains of Watson sat in.

Five years ago, IBM built this system made up of 90 servers and 15 terabytes of memory enough capacity to process all the books in the American Library of Congress. That was necessary because Watson is an avid reader — able to consume the equivalent of a million books per second. Today, Watsons hardware is much smaller, but it is just as smart.

Play Video

What happens when Charlie Rose attempts to interview a robot named “Sophia” for his 60 Minutes report on artificial intelligence

Charlie Rose: Tell me about Watsons intelligence.

John Kelly: So it has no inherent intelligence as it starts. Its essentially a child. But as its given data and given outcomes, it learns, which is dramatically different than all computing systems in the past, which really learned nothing. And as it interacts with humans, it gets even smarter. And it never forgets.

[Announcer: This is Jeopardy!]

That helped Watson land a spot on one of the most challenging editions of the game show Jeopardy! in 2011.

[Announcer: An IBM computer system able to understand and analyze natural language Watson]

It took five years to teach Watson human language so it would be ready to compete against two of the shows best champions.

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Five years after beating humans on “Jeopardy!” an IBM technology known as Watson is becoming a tool for doctors treating cancer, the head of IBM …

Because Watsons A.I. is only as intelligent as the data it ingests, Kellys team trained it on all of Wikipedia and thousands of newspapers and books. It worked by using machine-learning algorithms to find patterns in that massive amount of data and formed its own observations. When asked a question, Watson considered all the information and came up with an educated guess.

[Alex Trebek: Watson, what are you gonna wager?]

IBM gambled its reputation on Watson that night. It wasnt a sure bet.

[Watson: I will take a guess: What is Baghdad?]

[Alex Trebek: Even though you were only 32 percent sure of your response, you are correct.]

The wager paid off. For the first time, a computer system proved it could actually master human language and win a game show, but that wasnt IBMs endgame.

Charlie Rose: Man, thats a big day, isnt it?

John Kelly: Thats a big day

Charlie Rose: The day that you realize that, If we can do this

John Kelly: Thats right.

Charlie Rose: –the future is ours.

John Kelly: Thats right.

Charlie Rose: This is almost like youre watching something grow up. I mean, youve seen

John Kelly: It is.

Charlie Rose: –the birth, youve seen it pass the test. Youre watching adolescence.

John Kelly: Thats a great analogy. Actually, on that Jeopardy! game five years ago, I– when we put that computer system on television, we let go of it. And I often feel as though I was putting my child on a school bus and I would no longer have control over it.

Charlie Rose: Cause it was reacting to something that it did not know what would it be?

John Kelly: It had no idea what questions it was going to get. It was totally self-contained. I couldnt touch it any longer. And its learned ever since. So fast-forward from that game show, five years later, were in cancer now.

Charlie Rose: Youre in cancer? Youve gone

John Kelly: Were– yeah. To cancer

Charlie Rose: –from game show to cancer in five years?

John Kelly: –in five years. In five years.

Five years ago, Watson had just learned how to read and answer questions.

Now, its gone through medical school. IBM has enlisted 20 top-cancer institutes to tutor Watson in genomics and oncology. One of the places Watson is currently doing its residency is at the university of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Ned Sharpless runs the cancer center here.

Charlie Rose: What did you know about artificial intelligence and Watson before IBM suggested it might make a contribution in medical care?

Ned Sharpless: I– not much, actually. I had watched it play Jeopardy!

Charlie Rose: Yes.

Ned Sharpless: So I knew about that. And I was very skeptical. I was, like, oh, this what we need, the Jeopardy-playing computer. Thats gonna solve everything.

Charlie Rose: So what fed your skepticism?

Ned Sharpless: Cancers tough business. Theres a lot of false prophets and false promises. So Im skeptical of, sort of, almost any new idea in cancer. I just didnt really understand what it would do.

What Watsons A.I. technology could do is essentially what Dr. Sharpless and his team of experts do every week at this molecular tumor board meeting.

They come up with possible treatment options for cancer patients who already failed standard therapies. They try to do that by sorting through all of the latest medical journals and trial data, but it is nearly impossible to keep up.

Charlie Rose: To be on top of everything thats out there, all the trials that have taken place around the world, it seems like an incredible task

Ned Sharpless: Well, yeah, its r

Charlie Rose: –for any one university, only one facility to do.

Ned Sharpless: Yeah, its essentially undoable. And understand we have, sort of, 8,000 new research papers published every day. You know, no one has time to read 8,000 papers a day. So we found that we were deciding on therapy based on information that was always, in some cases, 12, 24 months out-of-date.

However, its a task thats elementary for Watson.

Ned Sharpless: They taught Watson to read medical literature essentially in about a week.

Charlie Rose: Yeah.

Ned Sharpless: It was not very hard and then Watson read 25 million papers in about another week. And then, it also scanned the web for clinical trials open at other centers. And all of the sudden, we had this complete list that was, sort of, everything one needed to know.

Charlie Rose: Did this blow your mind?

Ned Sharpless: Oh, totally blew my mind.

Watson was proving itself to be a quick study. But, Dr. Sharpless needed further validation. He wanted to see if Watson could find the same genetic mutations that his team identified when they make treatment recommendations for cancer patients.

Ned Sharpless: We did an analysis of 1,000 patients, where the humans meeting in the Molecular Tumor Board– doing the best that they could do, had made recommendations. So not at all a hypothetical exercise. These are real-world patients where we really conveyed information that could guide care. In 99 percent of those cases, Watson found the same the humans recommended. That was encouraging.

Charlie Rose: Did it encourage your confidence in Watson?

Ned Sharpless: Yeah, it was– it was nice to see that– well, it was also– it encouraged my confidence in the humans, you know. Yeah. You know–

Charlie Rose: Yeah.

Ned Sharpless: But, the probably more exciting part about it is in 30 percent of patients Watson found something new. And so thats 300-plus people where Watson identified a treatment that a well-meaning, hard-working group of physicians hadnt found.

Charlie Rose: Because?

Ned Sharpless: The trial had opened two weeks earlier, a paper had come out in some journal no one had seen — you know, a new therapy had become approved

Charlie Rose: 30 percent though?

Ned Sharpless: We were very– that part was disconcerting. Because I thought it was gonna be 5 perc

Charlie Rose: Disconcerting that the Watson found

Ned Sharpless: Yeah.

Charlie Rose: –30 percent?

Ned Sharpless: Yeah. These were real, you know, things that, by our own definition, we wouldve considered actionable had we known about it at the time of the diagnosis.

Some cases — like the case of Pam Sharpe — got a second look to see if something had been missed.

Charlie Rose: When did they tell you about the Watson trial?

Pam Sharpe: He called me in January. He said that they had sent off my sequencing to be studied by– at IBM by Watson. I said, like the

Charlie Rose: Your genomic sequencing?

Pam Sharpe: Right. I said, Like the computer on Jeopardy!? And he said, Yeah–

Charlie Rose: Yes. And whatd you think of that?

Pam Sharpe: Oh I thought, Wow, thats pretty cool.

Pam has metastatic bladder cancer and for eight years has tried and failed several therapies. At 66 years old, she was running out of options.

Charlie Rose: And at this time for you, Watson was the best thing out there cause youd tried everything else?

Pam Sharpe: Ive been on standard chemo. Ive been on a clinical trial. And the prescription chemo Im on isnt working either.

One of the ways doctors can tell whether a drug is working is to analyze scans of cancer tumors. Watson had to learn to do that too so IBMs John Kelly and his team taught the system how to see.

It can help diagnose diseases and catch things the doctors might miss.

John Kelly: And what Watson has done here, it has looked over tens of thousands of images, and it knows what normal looks like. And it knows what normal isnt. And it has identified where in this image are there anomalies that could be significant problems.

[Billy Kim: You know, you had CT scan yesterday. There does appear to be progression of the cancer.]

Pam Sharpes doctor, Billy Kim, arms himself with Watsons input to figure out her next steps.

[Billy Kim: I can show you the interface for Watson.]

Watson flagged a genetic mutation in Pams tumor that her doctors initially overlooked. It enabled them to put a new treatment option on the table.

Charlie Rose: What would you say Watson has done for you?

Pam Sharpe: It may have extended my life. And I dont know how much time Ive got. So by using this Watson, its maybe saved me some time that I wont– wouldnt have had otherwise.

But, Pam sadly ran out of time. She died a few months after we met her from an infection never getting the opportunity to see what a Watson adjusted treatment could have done for her. Dr. Sharpless has now used Watson on more than 2,000 patients and is convinced doctors couldnt do the job alone. He has started using Watson as part of UNCs standard of care so it can help patients earlier than it reached Pam.

Charlie Rose: So what do you call Watson? A physicians assistant, a physicians tool, a physicians diagnostic mastermind?

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Artificial intelligence positioned to be a game-changer – CBS …

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How America Lost the War on Drugs – News | Rolling Stone:

Posted: October 6, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Taibbi on Six Million Adults Who Won’t Influence This Presidential Race

One in 40 Americans can’t vote because of a criminal conviction. But the rules aren’t exactly fair

Lee Daniels Rejoins Jay Z-Produced Richard Pryor Film

Harvey Weinstein offers no details about director’s return to Mike Epps-starring biopic he left in May

Furry Community Shocked After Gory Triple Murder

Members of misunderstood subculture mourn loss, prepare for potential backlash

Jay Z Talks Kalief Browder Doc, Inhumanity of Solitary Confinement

Six-part ‘Time: The Kalief Browder Story’ will premiere early next year

Hear Pusha T, Rivers Cuomo on Soft Rock Zeds Dead Jam ‘Too Young’

Canadian electronic duo will release debut LP this month

Keith Urban to Headline Nashville New Year’s Eve Party

A Thousand Horses and Charlie Worsham also represent country on the all-genre bill

Watch ‘The Warriors’ Reunite to Discuss Cult Film’s Legacy, Fandom

Vermin, Cochise, Swan and more look back on Walter Hill’s 1979 gangland New York classic in exclusive new video

Watch U2 Blast Donald Trump During San Francisco Show

Bono blasts Republican nominee for trying to “run off with the American dream”

See Dolly Parton Play ‘Dollywood Squares’

Icon visits ‘The Talk’ for a humorous game, during which she reminisces about working with Burt Reynolds and writing “Jolene”

Watch Lera Lynn Perform Rumbling ‘What You Done’

Slow-burning accusation is the latest in singer-songwriter’s Live at Resistor Studio series

‘Insecure’ Creator Issa Rae Talks Drake, Maintaining ‘Awkward’-Ness

Comedian on translating her sensibility to small screen: “I didn’t set out to be like ‘I want to tell the black female millennial story'”

Watch Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ Mournful ‘Girl in Amber’ Video

Band performs ballad in new clip made from ‘One More Time With Feeling’ footage

Go Behind the Scenes of Metallica’s Raging ‘Moth Into Flame’ Video

Director Tom Kirk talks blending vintage, contemporary styles while James Hetfield plays with warehouse equipment

Flashback: David Bowie Plays a Haunting ‘Heroes’ in 1978

London performance was professionally recorded for a concert movie that has yet to see an official release

D.R.A.M. Announces Debut Album ‘Big Baby D.R.A.M.’

“Cha Cha” and “Broccoli” rapper will make solo late-night television debut on ‘Conan’

Watch Norah Jones Unleash Fiery ‘Flipside’ on ‘Fallon’

Musician delivers politically charged cut off new LP ‘Day Breaks’

Dustin Lynch’s Next Album Will Be ‘Very Sexy’

Country singer reports much of the upcoming project is about falling in and out of love

Watch Pixies Prowl for Love in ‘Um Chagga Lagga’ Video

Black Francis makes directorial debut with peculiar new clip

Hear Love and Theft’s Sexy New Song ‘Candyland’

“Angel Eyes” duo releases acoustic performance of lead single from forthcoming album

Hear Tift Merritt’s Blues-Fueled ‘Dusty Old Man’

Singer-songwriter looked to Bonnie Raitt’s first album as inspiration for her bluesy, guitar-driven new tune

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Virtual Reality Takes On the Videoconference – WSJ

Posted: September 20, 2016 at 7:12 pm

Sept. 18, 2016 10:06 p.m. ET

Get ready for your next conference callin virtual reality.

With equipment for virtual-reality viewing now on the consumer market, public tech companies and venture capitalists are exploring possible applications in everything from videogames to medicine. And some are betting that virtual-reality headsets could be the next big thing in business-meeting software, upending the dreaded videoconference call.

Some of virtual realitys potential as a meeting and collaboration tool is suggested in a video recently recorded at the NYU Media Research Lab. In the video, lab researchers strap on Samsung SSNHZ0.00% Gear VR headsets with antler-like sensors attached to thegoggles. The headsets usher the researchers into a virtual-realityenvironment in which they see digital avatars of themselves movingaround a simulated environment. Soon, using hand-held electronicwands, the researchers are drawing 3-D models together.

Ken Perlin, a computer-science professor at New York University anddirector of the research lab, has been studying collaboration inthe virtual world for the past two years, attempting to understandhow virtual reality might change societyincluding the workplace.

Of course were going to embrace any technology that makes us feel more connected, Prof. Perlin says.

A global survey of attitudes toward technology in the workplace suggests he may be right. The survey, in a report from Dell Inc., Intel Corp. INTC -0.05% and consultants Penn Schoen Berland, found that 57% ofemployees around the world prefer face-to-face conversations withcolleagues. But more than half said that better communicationstechnology could make such interactions obsolete in the future.Millennials particularly were open to using virtual- andaugmented-reality products at work, with 77% saying they would tryit.

Jeremy Bailenson, the founding director of Stanford Universitys VirtualHuman Interaction Lab, says business calls using virtual-realitytechnology can offer many benefits over videoconferencing.

VR meetings will allow for nuanced nonverbal communicationproper eye contact, subtle cues such as interpersonal distance, and eventually virtual touch and smell (when desired), Prof. Bailenson writes in a recent email.

For most companies investing in the medium, virtual-reality meetings are still experimental. Employees from the Bank of Ireland BIR 0.00 % and National Grid NGG -0.16% PLC, the British utility, have tweeted about their earlysampling of virtual-reality meeting software. Mike Harlick, head ofthe Bank of Ireland Worklab, said to him it felt like the futureof collaboration.

Mr. Harlick told The Wall Street Journal that his firm has been experimenting with several virtual conferencing centers. He said he doesnt see virtual reality replacing video calls, but that it provides functions that other office collaboration tools do not offer. He said he thinks it will help his team be more effective in how they communicate.

In the context of office meetings you now have a whole virtual environment where you can co-create and interact, he wrote in an email. So you may have white boards on one wall, a shared document on another.

The National Grid employee who tweeted, David Goldsby, said a team he presented to was seriously impressed by the technology. However, he said the Wi-Fi in their hotel presented challenges. The company didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Still, for many companies, experts say virtual-reality meetings may offer real improvements over the typical videoconference experience.

Some of the earliest adopters are in videogaming and the virtual-reality industry itself. Neil Glenister, founder of a London-based gaming company called 232Studios, says his team has typically conducted lengthy weekly groupmeetings on Skype. But the team, he says, is tired ofvideoconferencing. It doesnt make them feel as if they are in thesame room, he says, and they have trouble seeing each others handgestures.

Instead, Mr. Glenister and his team recently tried an app called vTime, which allows people to meet in virtual environments using avatars. From a menu of possible settings, Mr. Glenister and his employees chose to meet in a simulation of outer space.

At times, he says, they struggled to focus on work-related topics because they were distracted by the planets surrounding them.

Still, he says, that sense of presence was really good. The dynamics of the calls through Skype werent as friendly.

Skype, which is owned by Microsoft Corp. MSFT -0.21% , didnt say if it has developed a virtual-realityapplication, but a spokesman says the company is testing the watersin augmented reality, a close cousin of virtual reality in which aviewer sees digital images imposed over real-world environments.Skype says it has developed an application for the HoloLens,Microsofts augmented-reality device that is currently onlyavailable to developers.

Something else that virtual reality provides that video calls typically dont: eye contact. Though theyre looking through their avatars eyes, participants in a virtual-reality meeting get the feeling they are making eye contact, says Eric Romo, chief executive of AltspaceVR Inc., a Redwood City,Calif., company that designs environments for virtual-realitymeetings using avatars. Some virtual-reality companies areexperimenting with eye-tracking technology that would allow thegoggles to better track users eye movements and convey even morerealistic eye contact.

In a typical video call, by contrast, a participant may think he or she is making eye contact, but to the other person they appear to be looking down. Instead of looking directly at each others image, you have to look into the camera for the other person to get the feeling you are looking into their eyes.

Other kinds of physical cues missing from most telecommunication may be incorporated into virtual-reality calls as well. While arms are frequently out of sight in video chats when people are sitting close to the camera, some virtual-reality headsets are able to capture arm and hand gestures that are then imitated by an avatar. Participants can get visual insights into group dynamics, as well, such as how close certain avatars stand to one another.

There are all these nonverbal cues we have physically that we dont have in [most] communication technologies except for VR, Mr. Romo says.

One of the biggest challenges today for companies creating meeting spaces in virtual reality is to make avatars that realistically capture and instantly reflect the users emotions. Some companies are putting transitional technologies, like emojis, into their virtual environments. But companies are experimenting with technologies that would allow avatars to capture facial expressions.

Another hurdle that technologists are addressing is capturing fine movements. With hand controllers, avatars can imitate simple gestures, like waving a hand. Researchers and businesses are pushing to capture finger movements.

Other impediments remain as well. Even if a person or a business invests in the equipment needed to hold a virtual-reality meeting, the equipment is still relatively rare. Others have to invest as well for meetings to be possible. Early headsets that use mobile phones also have very limited battery life, connectivity issues and can overheat.

If virtual-reality meetings do catch on, researchers are at odds over whether they will dramatically change the amount of business that people conduct in person. Prof. Bailenson says he believes that adoption of virtual-reality meetings will result in a major decline in commuting.

Prof. Perlin, meanwhile, says the impact of virtual-reality meetings will be similar to other communication technologies that have come before.

I think its important also to keep in mind when you look at historical trends, the more weve embraced new kinds of telecommunication media, things like Skype, the more weve traveled, he says. The more we feel connected to people, the more we want to physically be together.

Ms. Zakrzewski is a reporter in The Wall Street Journals San Francisco bureau. She can be reached at cat.zakrzewski@wsj.com.

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Ai Weiwei – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: September 11, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei in 2008

Ai Weiwei (Chinese: ; pinyin: i Wiwi, English pronunciation(helpinfo); born 28 August 1957 in Beijing) is a Chinese Contemporary artist and activist. His father’s side’s original surname is Jiang.[1][2][3] Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics.[4] As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government’s stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of so-called “tofu-dreg schools” in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.[5] In 2011, following his arrest at Beijing Capital International Airport on 3 April, he was held for 81 days without any official charges being filed; officials alluded to their allegations of “economic crimes”.[6]

Ai’s father was the Chinese poet Ai Qing,[7] who was denounced during the Anti-Rightist Movement. In 1958, the family was sent to a labour camp in Beidahuang, Heilongjiang, when Ai was one year old. They were subsequently exiled to Shihezi, Xinjiang in 1961, where they lived for 16 years. Upon Mao Zedong’s death and the end of the Cultural Revolution, the family returned to Beijing in 1976.[8]

In 1978, Ai enrolled in the Beijing Film Academy and studied animation.[9] In 1978, he was one of the founders of the early avant garde art group the “Stars”, together with Ma Desheng, Wang Keping, Huang Rui, Li Shuang, Zhong Acheng and Qu Leilei. The group disbanded in 1983,[10] yet Ai participated in regular Stars group shows, The Stars: Ten Years, 1989 (Hanart Gallery, Hong Kong and Taipei), and a retrospective exhibition in Beijing in 2007: Origin Point (Today Art Museum, Beijing). In 2014, Ai had a piece named, “Illumination (2014) is housed in the old prison hospital, which looks and feels like the set of a horror film needing no embellishment. For this work, Ai has installed recordings of Tibetan and Native American chants in two psychiatric evaluation rooms, which are tiled chambers created for the observation of mentally ill patients. In these cramped rooms, the rhythmic noisesspiritual, strong, and culturally significantcontrast with the shiny mint-colored walls. The mix of clinical and consciousness is startling, bringing presence to a place that even when it was open and functioning was meant to reduce human to subject. Both haunting and aesthetically delightful, this ambitious exhibition exposes issues of freedom of speech and human rights by creating artistic possibility within and about a broken system. Giving a collective voice to silenced dissidents might just prompt newly sympathetic ears.”[11]

Ai Weiwei came top of Londons paid exhibitions list in 2015 with 4,335 visitors a day at the Royal Academy of Arts.[12]

From 1981 to 1993, he lived in the United States, mostly in New York City.[10] He studied briefly at Parsons School of Design.[14] Ai attended the Art Students League of New York from 1983 to 1986, where he studied with Bruce Dorfman, Knox Martin and Richard Pousette-Dart.[15] He later dropped out of school, and made a living out of drawing street portraits and working odd jobs. During this period, he gained exposure to the works of Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns, and began creating conceptual art by altering readymade objects.

Ai befriended beat poet Allen Ginsberg while living in New York, following a chance meeting at a poetry reading where Ginsberg read out several poems about China. Ginsberg had travelled to China and met with Ai’s father, the noted poet Ai Qing, and consequently Ginsberg and Ai became friends.[16]

When he was living in the East Village (from 1983 to 1993), Ai carried a camera with him all the time and would take pictures of his surroundings wherever he was. The resulting collection of photos were later selected and is now known as the New York Photographs.[17]

At the same time, Ai became fascinated by blackjack card games and frequented Atlantic City casinos. He is still regarded in gambling circles as a top tier professional blackjack player according to an article published on blackjackchamp.com.[18][19][20]

In 1993, Ai returned to China after his father became ill.[21] He helped establish the experimental artists’ Beijing East Village and co-published a series of three books about this new generation of artists with Chinese curator Feng Boyi: Black Cover Book (1994), White Cover Book (1995), and Gray Cover Book (1997).[22]

In 1999, Ai moved to Caochangdi, in the northeast of Beijing, and built a studio house his first architectural project. Due to his interest in architecture, he founded the architecture studio FAKE Design, in 2003.[23] In 2000, he co-curated the art exhibition Fuck Off with curator Feng Boyi in Shanghai, China.[24]

Ai is married to artist Lu Qing,[25] and has a son from an extramarital relationship.[26]

In 2005, Ai was invited to start blogging by Sina Weibo, the biggest internet platform in China. He posted his first blog on 19 November. For four years, he “turned out a steady stream of scathing social commentary, criticism of government policy, thoughts on art and architecture, and autobiographical writings.”[27] The blog was later shut down by Sina on 28 May 2009 due to its popularity and Weiwei’s outspoken attitude on events such as the Sichuan earthquake and the Beijing Olympic Games. Since then he has turned to Twitter and writes prolifically over the platform, claiming at least 8 hours online every day. He tweets almost exclusively in Chinese on the account @aiww.[citation needed] As of 31 December 2013, Ai has declared that he would stop tweeting but the account remains active in forms of retweets and Instagram posts.

He also supported the Amnesty petition for Iranian filmmaker Hossein Rajabian and his brother, musician Mehdi Rajabian and released the news on his Twitter pages.[28][bettersourceneeded]

Ten days after the 8.0-magnitude earthquake took place in Sichuan province on 12 May 2008, Ai led a team to survey and film the post-quake conditions in various disaster zones. In response to the government’s lack of transparency in revealing names of students who perished in the earthquake due to substandard school campus constructions, Ai recruited volunteers online and launched a “Citizens’ Investigation” to compile names and information of the student victims. On 20 March 2009, he posted a blog titled “Citizens’ Investigation” and wrote: “To remember the departed, to show concern for life, to take responsibility, and for the potential happiness of the survivors, we are initiating a “Citizens’ Investigation.” We will seek out the names of each departed child, and we will remember them.”[29]

As of 14 April 2009, the list had accumulated 5,385 names.[30] Ai published the collected names as well as numerous articles documenting the investigation on his blog which was shut down by Chinese authorities in May 2009.[31] He also posted his list of names of schoolchildren who died on the wall of his office at FAKE Design in Beijing.[32]

Ai suffered headaches and claimed he had difficulty concentrating on his work since returning from Chengdu in August 2009, where he was beaten by the police for trying to testify for Tan Zuoren, a fellow investigator of the shoddy construction and student casualties in the earthquake. On 14 September 2009, Ai was diagnosed to be suffering internal bleeding in a hospital in Munich, Germany, and the doctor arranged for emergency brain surgery.[33] The cerebral hemorrhage is believed to be linked to the police attack.[34][35]

According to the Financial Times, in an attempt to force Ai to leave the country, two accounts used by him had been hacked in a sophisticated attack on Google in China dubbed Operation Aurora, their contents read and copied; his bank accounts were investigated by state security agents who claimed he was under investigation for “unspecified suspected crimes”.[36]

In November 2010, Ai was placed under house arrest by the Chinese police. He said this was to prevent the planned party marking the demolition of his newly built Shanghai studio.[37]

The building was designed and built by Ai upon encouragement and persuasion from a “high official [from Shanghai]” as part of a new cultural area designated by Shanghai Municipal authorities; Ai would have used it as a studio and to teach architecture courses. But now Ai has been accused of erecting the structure without the necessary planning permission and a demolition notice has been ordered, even though, Ai said, officials had been extremely enthusiastic, and the entire application and planning process was “under government supervision”. According to Ai, a number of artists were invited to build new studios in this area of Shanghai because officials wanted to create a cultural area.[38]

On 3 November 2010, Ai said the government had informed him two months earlier that the newly completed studio would be knocked down because it was illegal. Ai complained that this was unfair, as he was “the only one singled out to have my studio destroyed”. The Guardian reported Ai saying Shanghai municipal authorities were “frustrated” by documentaries on subjects they considered sensitive:[38] two of the better known ones featured Shanghai resident Feng Zhenghu, who lived in forced exile for three months in Narita Airport, Tokyo; another well-known documentary focused on Yang Jia, who murdered six Shanghai police officers.[39]

In the end, the party took place without Weiwei’s presence; his supporters feasted on river crab, an allusion to “harmony”, and a euphemism used to jeer official censorship. Ai was released from house arrest the next day.[40]

Like other activists and intellectuals, Ai was prevented from leaving China in late 2010. Ai suggested that the authorities wanted to prevent him from attending the ceremony in December 2010 to award the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to fellow dissident Liu Xiaobo.[41] Ai said that he had not been invited to the ceremony, and was attempting to travel to South Korea for a meeting when he was told that he could not leave for reasons of national security.[42]

In the evening of 11 January 2011, Ai’s studio was demolished in a surprise move by the local government.[43][44]

On 3 April 2011, Ai was arrested at Beijing Capital International Airport just before catching a flight to Hong Kong and his studio facilities were searched.[45] A police contingent of approximately 50 officers came to his studio, threw a cordon around it and searched the premises. They took away laptops and the hard drive from the main computer; along with Ai, police also detained eight staff members and Ai’s wife, Lu Qing. Police also visited the mother of Ai’s two-year-old son.[46] While state media originally reported on 6 April that Ai was arrested at the airport because “his departure procedures were incomplete,”[47] the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on 7 April that Ai was arrested under investigation for alleged economic crimes.[48] Then, on 8 April, police returned to Ai’s workshop to examine his financial affairs.[49] On 9 April, Ai’s accountant, as well as studio partner Liu Zhenggang and driver Zhang Jingsong, disappeared,[50] while Ai’s assistant Wen Tao has remained missing since Ai’s arrest on 3 April.[51] Ai’s wife said that she was summoned by the Beijing Chaoyang district tax bureau, where she was interrogated about his studio’s tax on 12 April.[52]South China Morning Post reports that Ai received at least two visits from the police, the last being on 31 March three days before his detention apparently with offers of membership to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. A staff member recalled that Ai had mentioned receiving the offer earlier, “[but Ai] didn’t say if it was a membership of the CPPCC at the municipal or national level, how he responded or whether he accepted it or not.”[52]

On 24 February, amid an online campaign for Middle East-style protests in major Chinese cities by overseas dissidents, Ai posted on his Twitter account: “I didnt care about jasmine at first, but people who are scared by jasmine sent out information about how harmful jasmine is often, which makes me realize that jasmine is what scares them the most. What a jasmine!”[53][54]

Analysts and other activists said Ai had been widely thought to be untouchable, but Nicholas Bequelin from Human Rights Watch suggested that his arrest, calculated to send the message that no one would be immune, must have had the approval of someone in the top leadership.[55] International governments, human rights groups and art institutions, among others, called for Ai’s release, while Chinese officials did not notify Ai’s family of his whereabouts.[56]

State media started describing Ai as a “deviant and a plagiarist” in early 2011.[57] The China Daily subsidiary, the Global Times editorial on 6 April 2011 attacked Ai, saying “Ai Weiwei likes to do something ‘others dare not do.’ He has been close to the red line of Chinese law. Objectively speaking, Chinese society does not have much experience in dealing with such persons. However, as long as Ai Weiwei continuously marches forward, he will inevitably touch the red line one day.”[58] Two days later, the journal scorned Western media for questioning Ai’s charge as a “catch-all crime”, and denounced the use of his political activism as a “legal shield” against everyday crimes. It said “Ai’s detention is one of the many judicial cases handled in China every day. It is pure fantasy to conclude that Ai’s case will be handled specially and unfairly.”[59] Frank Ching expressed in the South China Morning Post that how the Global Times could radically shift its position from one-day to the next was reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.[60]

Michael Sheridan of The Times suggested that Ai had offered himself to the authorities on a platter with some of his provocative art, particularly photographs of himself nude with only a toy alpaca hiding his modesty with a caption (“grass mud horse covering the middle”). The term possesses a double meaning in Chinese: one possible interpretation was given by Sheridan as: “Fuck your mother, the party central committee”.[61]

Ming Pao in Hong Kong reacted strongly to the state media’s character attack on Ai, saying that authorities had employed “a chain of actions outside the law, doing further damage to an already weak system of laws, and to the overall image of the country.”[57] Pro-Beijing newspaper in Hong Kong, Wen Wei Po, announced that Ai was under arrest for tax evasion, bigamy and spreading indecent images on the internet, and vilified him with multiple instances of strong rhetoric.[62][63] Supporters said “the article should be seen as a mainland media commentary attacking Ai, rather than as an accurate account of the investigation.”[64]

The United States and European Union protested Ai’s detention.[65] The international arts community also mobilised petitions calling for the release of Ai: “1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei” was organized by Creative Time of New York that calls for artists to bring chairs to Chinese embassies and consulates around the world on 17 April 2011, at 1pm local time “to sit peacefully in support of the artist’s immediate release.”[66][67] Artists in Hong Kong,[68] Germany[68] and Taiwan demonstrated and called for Ai to be released.[69]

One of the major protests by U.S. museums took place on 19 and 20 May when the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego organized a 24-hour silent protest in which volunteer participants, including community members, media, and museum staff, occupied two traditionally styled Chinese chairs for one-hour periods.[70] The 24-hour sit-in referenced Ai’s sculpture series, Marble Chair, two of which were on view and were subsequently acquired for the Museum’s permanent collection.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the International Council of Museums, which organised petitions, said they had collected more than 90,000 signatures calling for the release of Ai.[71] On 13 April 2011, a group of European intellectuals led by Vclav Havel had issued an open letter to Wen Jiabao, condemning the arrest and demanding the immediate release of Ai. The signatories include Ivan Klma, Ji Grua, Jchym Topol, Elfriede Jelinek, Adam Michnik, Adam Zagajewski, Helmuth Frauendorfer; Bei Ling (Chinese:), a Chinese poet in exile drafted and also signed the open letter.[72]

On 16 May 2011, the Chinese authorities allowed Ai’s wife to visit him briefly. Liu Xiaoyuan, his attorney and personal friend, reported that Wei was in good physical condition and receiving treatment for his chronic diabetes and hypertension; he was not in a prison or hospital but under some form of house arrest.[73]

He is the subject of the 2012 documentary film Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, directed by American filmmaker Alison Klayman, which received a special jury prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and opened the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, North America’s largest documentary festival, in Toronto on 26 April 2012.[74]

On 22 June 2011, the Chinese authorities released Ai from jail after almost three months’ detention on charges of tax evasion.[75] Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd. (Chinese: ), a company Ai controlled, had allegedly evaded taxes and intentionally destroyed accounting documents. State media also reports that Ai was granted bail on account of Ai’s “good attitude in confessing his crimes”, willingness to pay back taxes, and his chronic illnesses.[76] According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, he is prohibited from leaving Beijing without permission for one year.[77][78] Ai’s supporters widely viewed his detention as retaliation for his vocal criticism of the government.[79] On 23 June 2011, professor Wang Yujin of China University of Political Science and Law stated that the release of Ai on bail shows that the Chinese government could not find any solid evidence of Ai’s alleged “economic crime”.[80] On 24 June 2011, Ai told a Radio Free Asia reporter that he was thankful for the support of the Hong Kong public, and praised Hong Kong’s conscious society. Ai also mentioned that his detention by the Chinese regime was hellish (Chinese: ), and stressed that he is forbidden to say too much to reporters.[81]

After his release, his sister gave some details about his detention condition to the press, explaining that he was subjected to a kind of psychological torture: he was detained in a tiny room with constant light, and two guards were set very close to him at all times, and watched him constantly.[82] In November, Chinese authorities were again investigating Ai and his associates, this time under the charge of spreading pornography.[83][84] Lu was subsequently questioned by police, and released after several hours though the exact charges remain unclear.[85][86] In January 2012, in its International Review issue Art in America magazine featured an interview with Ai Weiwei at his home in China. J.J. Camille (the pen name of a Chinese-born writer living in New York), “neither a journalist nor an activist but simply an art lover who wanted to talk to him” had travelled to Beijing the previous September to conduct the interview and to write about his visit to “China’s most famous dissident artist” for the magazine.[87]

On 21 June 2012, Ai’s bail was lifted. Although he is allowed to leave Beijing, the police informed him that he is still prohibited from traveling to other countries because he is “suspected of other crimes,” including pornography, bigamy and illicit exchange of foreign currency.[88][89] Until 2015, he remained under heavy surveillance and restrictions of movement, but continues to criticize through his work.[90][91] In July 2015, he was given a passport and may travel abroad.[92]

In June 2011, the Beijing Local Taxation Bureau demanded a total of over 12 million yuan (US$1.85million) from Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd in unpaid taxes and fines,[93][94] and accorded three days to appeal the demand in writing. According to Ai’s wife, Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd has hired two Beijing lawyers as defense attorneys. Ai’s family state that Ai is “neither the chief executive nor the legal representative of the design company, which is registered in his wife’s name.”

Offers of donations poured in from Ai’s fans across the world when the fine was announced. Eventually an online loan campaign was initiated on 4 November 2011, and close to 9 million RMB was collected within ten days, from 30,000 contributions. Notes were folded into paper planes and thrown over the studio walls, and donations were made in symbolic amounts such as 8964 (4 June 1989, Tiananmen Massacre) or 512 (12 May 2008, Sichuan earthquake). To thank creditors and acknowledge the contributions as loans, Ai designed and issued loan receipts to all who participated in the campaign.[95] Funds raised from the campaign were used as collateral, required by law for an appeal on the tax case. Lawyers acting for Ai submitted an appeal against the fine in January 2012; the Chinese government subsequently agreed to conduct a review.[96]

In June 2012, the court heard the tax appeal case. Ai’s wife, Lu Qing, the legal representative of the design company, attended the hearing. Lu was accompanied by several lawyers and an accountant, but the witnesses they had requested to testify, including Ai, were prevented from attending a court hearing.[97] Ai asserts that the entire matter including the 81 days he spent in jail in 2011 is intended to suppress his provocations. Ai said he had no illusions as to how the case would turn out, as he believes the court will protect the government’s own interests. On 20 June, hundreds of Ai’s supporters gathered outside the Chaoyang District Court in Beijing despite a small army of police officers, some of whom videotaped the crowd and led several people away.[98] On 20 July, Ai’s tax appeal was rejected in court.[99][100] The same day Ai’s studio released “The Fake Case” which tracks the status and history of this case including a timeline and the release of official documents.[101] On 27 September, the court upheld the 2.4million tax evasion fine.[102] Ai had previously deposited 1.33million in a government-controlled account in order to appeal. Ai said he will not pay the remainder because he does not recognize the charge.[103]

In October 2012, authorities revoked the license of Beijing Fake Cultural Development Ltd for failing to re-register, an annual requirement by the administration. The company was not able to complete this procedure as its materials and stamps were confiscated by the government.[104]

On 26 April 2014, Ai’s name was removed from a group show taking place at the Shanghai Power Station of Art. The exhibition was held to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the art prize created by Uli Sigg in 1998, with the purpose of promoting and developing Chinese contemporary art. Ai won the Lifetime Contribution Award in 2008 and was part of the jury during the first three editions of the prize.[105] He was then invited to take part in the group show together with the other selected Chinese artists. Shortly before the exhibition’s opening, some museum workers removed his name from the list of winners and jury members painted on a wall. Also, Ai’s works Sunflower Seeds and Stools were removed from the show and kept in a museum office (see photo on Ai Weiwei’s Instagram).[106] Sigg declared that it was not his decision and that it was a decision of the Power Station of Art and the Shanghai Municipal Bureau of Culture.[105]

In May 2014, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, a non-profit art center situated in the 798 art district of Beijing, held a retrospective exhibition in honor of the late curator and scholar, Hans Van Dijk. Ai, a good friend of Hans and a fellow co-founder of the China Art Archives and Warehouse (CAAW), participated in the exhibition with three artworks.[107] On the day of the opening, Ai realized his name was omitted from both Chinese and English versions of the exhibition’s press release. Ai’s assistants went to the art center and removed his works.[108] It is Ai’s belief that, in omitting his name, the museum altered the historical record of van Dijk’s work with him. Ai started his own research about what actually happened, and between 23 and 25 May he interviewed the UCCA’s director, Philip Tinari, the guest curator of the exhibition, Marianne Brouwer, and the UCCA chief, Xue Mei.[107] He published the transcripts of the interviews on Instagram.[109][110][111][112][113][114][115][116][117] In one of the interviews, the CEO of the UCCA, Xue Mei, admitted that, due to the sensitive time of the exhibition, Ai’s name was taken out of the press releases on the day of the opening and it was supposed to be restored afterwards. This was to avoid problems with the Chinese authorities, who threatened to arrest her.[107]

Beijing video works

From 2003 to 2005, Ai Weiwei recorded the results of Beijings developing urban infrastructure and its social conditions.

2003, Video, 150 hours

Beginning under the Dabeiyao highway interchange, the vehicle from which Beijing 2003 was shot traveled every road within the Fourth Ring Road of Beijing and documented the road conditions. Approximately 2400 kilometers and 150 hours of footage later, it ended where it began under the Dabeiyao highway interchange. The documentation of these winding alleyways of the city center now largely torn down for redevelopment preserved a visual record of the city that is free of aesthetic judgment.

2004, Video, 10h 13m

Moving from east to west, Changan Boulevard traverses Beijings most iconic avenue. Along the boulevards 45-kilometer length, it recorded the changing densities of its far-flung suburbs, central business districts, and political core. At each 50-meter increment, the artist records a single frame for one minute. The work reveals the rhythm of Beijing as a capital city, its social structure, cityscape, socialist-planned economy, capitalist market, political power center, commercial buildings, and industrial units as pieces of a multi-layered urban collage.

2005, Video, 1h 6m

2005 Video, 1h 50m

Beijing: The Second Ring and Beijing: The Third Ring capture two opposite views of traffic flow on every bridge of each Ring Road, the innermost arterial highways of Beijing. The artist records a single frame for one minute for each view on the bridge. Beijing: The Second Ring was entirely shot on cloudy days, while the segments for Beijing: The Third Ring were entirely shot on sunny days. The films document the historic aspects and modern development of a city with a population of nearly 11 million people.

2007, video, 2h 32m[118]

This video is about Ai Weiwei’s project Fairytale for Europes most innovative five-year art event Documenta 12 in Kassel, Germany in 2007: Ai Weiwei invited 1001 Chinese citizens of different ages and from various backgrounds to Germany to experience their own fairytale for 28 days. The 152 minutes film documents the whole process beginning with project preparations, over the challenge that the participants had to face until the actual travel to Germany, as well as the artists ideas behind the work. This is a work I emotionally relate to. It grows and it surprised me Ai Weiwei in Fairytale.

2008, video, 1h 18m[119]

On 15 December 2008, a citizens investigation began with the goal of seeking an explanation for the casualties of the Sichuan earthquake that happened on 12 May 2008. The investigation covered 14 counties and 74 townships within the disaster zone, and studied the conditions of 153 schools that were affected by the earthquake. By gathering and confirming comprehensive details about the students, such as their age, region, school, and grade, the group managed to affirm that there were 5,192 students who perished in the disaster. Among a hundred volunteers, 38 of them participated in fieldwork, with 25 of them being controlled by the Sichuan police for a total of 45 times. This documentary is a structural element of the citizens investigation.

2009, looped video, 1h 27m[120]

At 14:28 on 12 May 2008, an 8.0-magnitude earthquake happened in Sichuan, China. Over 5,000 students in primary and secondary schools perished in the earthquake, yet their names went unannounced. In reaction to the governments lack of transparency, a citizens investigation was initiated to find out their names and details about their schools and families. As of 2 September 2009, there were 4,851 confirmed. This video is a tribute to these perished students and a memorial for innocent lives lost.

2009, video, 48m[121]

This video documents the story of Chinese citizen Feng Zhenghu and his struggles to return home. The Shanghai authorities rejected Feng Zhenghu, originated from Wenzhou, Jiejiang, China, from returning to the country for a total of eight times in 2009. On 4 November 2009, Feng Zhenghu attempted to return home for the ninth time but the police from Shanghai used violence and kidnapped him to board a flight to Japan. Feng refused to enter Japan and decided to live in the Immigration Hall at Terminal 1 of the Narita Airport in Tokyo, as an act of protest. He relied on food gifts from tourists for sustenance and lived at a passageway in the Narita Airport for 92 days. He posted updates over Twitter, they attracted much concern and led to wide media coverage from Chinese netizens and international communities. On 31 January, Feng announced an end to his protest at the Narita Airport. On 12 February, Feng was allowed entry to China, where he reunited with his family at home in Shanghai. Ai Weiwei and his assistant Gao Yuan, went from Beijing to interview Feng Zhenghu three times at the Narita Airport of Japan on 16 November 20 November 2009 and 31 January 2010, and documented his life at the airport passageway and the entire process of his return to China. No country should refuse entry to its own citizens.

2009, video, 1h 19m[122]

Ai Weiwei studio production Laoma Tihua is a documentary of an incident during Tan Zuorens trial on 12 August 2009. Tan Zuoren was charged with inciting subversion of state power. Chengdu police detained witnessed during the trial of the civil rights advocate, which is an obstruction of justice and violence. Tan Zuoren was charged as a result of his research and questioning regarding the 5.12 Wenchuan students casualties and the corruption resulting poor building construction. Tan Zuoren was sentenced five years to prison.

2010, video, 3h[123]

In June 2008, Yang Jia carried a knife, a hammer, a gas mask, pepper spray, gloves and Molotov cocktails to the Zhabei Public Security Branch Bureau and killed six police officers, injuring another police officer and a guard. He was arrested on the scene, and was subsequently charged with intentional homicide. In the following six months, while Yang Jia was detained and trials were held, his mother has mysteriously disappeared. This video is a documentary that traces the reasons and motivations behind the tragedy and investigates into a trial process filled with shady cover-ups and questionable decisions. The film provides a glimpse into the realities of a government-controlled judicial system and its impact on the citizens lives.

2010, video, 2h 6m[124]

The future dictionary definition of crackdown will be: First cover ones head up firmly, and then beat him or her up violently. @aiww In the summer of 2010, the Chinese government began a crackdown on dissent, and Hua Hao Yue Yuan documents the stories of Liu Dejun and Liu Shasha, whose activism and outspoken attitude led them to violent abuse from the authorities. On separate occasions, they were kidnapped, beaten and thrown into remote locations. The incidents attracted much concern over the Internet, as well as wide speculation and theories about what exactly happened. This documentary presents interviews of the two victims, witnesses and concerned netizens. In which it gathers various perspectives about the two beatings, and brings us closer to the brutal reality of Chinas crackdown on crime.

2010, voice recording, 3h 41m[125]

On 24 April 2010 at 00:51, Ai Weiwei (@aiww) started a Twitter campaign to commemorate students who perished in the earthquake in Sichuan on 12 May 2008. 3,444 friends from the Internet delivered voice recordings, the names of 5,205 perished were recited 12,140 times. Remembrance is an audio work dedicated to the young people who lost their lives in the Sichuan earthquake. It expresses thoughts for the passing of innocent lives and indignation for the cover-ups on truths about sub-standard architecture, which led to the large number of schools that collapsed during the earthquake.

2010, video, 1h 8m[126]

The shooting and editing of this video lasted nearly seven months at the Ai Weiwei studio. It began near the end of 2007 in an interception organized by cat-saving volunteers in Tianjin, and the film locations included Tianjin, Shanghai, Rugao of Jiangsu, Chaoshan of Guangzhou, and Hebei Province. The documentary depicts a complete picture of a chain in the cat-trading industry. Since the end of 2009 when the government began soliciting expert opinion for the Animal Protection Act, the focus of public debate has always been on whether one should be eating cats or not, or whether cat-eating is a Chinese tradition or not. There are even people who would go as far as to say that the call to stop eating cat meat is “imposing the will of the minority on the majority”. Yet the “majority” does not understand the complete truth of cat-meat trading chains: cat theft, cat trafficking, killing cats, selling cats, and eating cats, all the various stages of the trade and how they are distributed across the country, in cities such as Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Suzhou, Wuxi, Rugao, Wuhan, Guangzhou, and Hebei. This well-organized, smooth-running industry chain of cat abuse, cat killing and skinning has already existed among ordinary Chinese folks for 20 years, or perhaps even longer. The degree of civilization of a country can be seen from its attitude towards animals.

2011, video, 1h 1m[127]

This documentary is about the construction project curated by Herzog & de Meuron and Ai Weiwei. One hundred architects from 27 countries were chosen to participate and design a 1000 square meter villa to be built in a new community in Inner Mongolia. The 100 villas would be designed to fit a master plan designed by Ai Weiwei. On 25 January 2008, the 100 architects gathered in Ordos for a first site visit. The film Ordos 100 documents the total of three site visits to Ordos, during which time the master plan and design of each villa was completed. Until today, the Ordos 100 project remains unrealized.

2011, video, 54m[128]

As a sequel to Ai Weiweis film Lao Ma Ti Hua, the film So Sorry (named after the artists 2009 exhibition in Munich, Germany) shows the beginnings of the tension between Ai Weiwei and the Chinese Government. In Lao Ma Ti Hua, Ai Weiwei travels to Chengdu, Sichuan to attend the trial of the civil rights advocate Tan Zuoren, as a witness. In So Sorry, you see the investigation led by Ai Weiwei studio to identify the students who died during the Sichuan earthquake as a result of corruption and poor building constructions leading to the confrontation between Ai Weiwei and the Chengdu police. After being beaten by the police, Ai Weiwei traveled to Munich, Germany to prepare his exhibition at the museum Haus der Kunst. The result of his beating led to intense headaches caused by a brain hemorrhage and was treated by emergency surgery. These events mark the beginning of Ai Weiweis struggle and surveillance at the hands of the state police.

2011, video, 2h 22m[129]

This documentary investigates the death of popular Zhaiqiao village leader Qian Yunhui in the fishing village of Yueqing, Zhejiang province. When the local government confiscated marshlands in order to convert them into construction land, the villagers were deprived of the opportunity to cultivate these lands and be fully self-subsistent. Qian Yunhui, unafraid of speaking up for his villagers, travelled to Beijing several times to report this injustice to the central government. In order to silence him, he was detained by local government repeatedly. On 25 December 2010, Qian Yunhui was hit by a truck and died on the scene. News of the incident and photos of the scene quickly spread over the internet. The local government claimed that Qian Yunhui was the victim of an ordinary traffic accident. This film is an investigation conducted by Ai Weiwei studio into the circumstances of the incident and its connection to the land dispute case, mainly based on interviews of family members, villagers and officials. It is an attempt by Ai Weiwei to establish the facts and find out what really happened on 25 December 2010. During shooting and production, Ai Weiwei studio experienced significant obstruction and resistance from local government. The film crew was followed, sometimes physically stopped from shooting certain scenes and there were even attempts to buy off footage. All villagers interviewed for the purposes of this documentary have been interrogated or illegally detained by local government to some extent.

2011, video, 1h 1m[130]

Early in 2008, the district government of Jiading, Shanghai invited Ai Weiwei to build a studio in Malu Township, as a part of the local government’s efforts in developing its cultural assets. By August 2010, the Ai Weiwei Shanghai Studio completed all of its construction work. In October 2010, the Shanghai government declared the Ai Weiwei Shanghai Studio an illegal construction, and was subjected to demolition. On 7 November 2010, when Ai Weiwei was placed under house arrest by public security in Beijing, over 1,000 netizens attended the “River Crab Feast” at the Shanghai Studio. On 11 January 2011, the Shanghai city government forcibly demolished the Ai Weiwei Studio within a day, without any prior notice.

2013, video, 1h 17m[131]

This video tells the story of Liu Ximei, who at her birth in 1985 was given to relatives to be raised because she was born in violation of Chinas strict one-child policy. When she was ten years old, Liu was severely injured while working in the fields and lost large amounts of blood. While undergoing treatment at a local hospital, she was given a blood transfusion that was later revealed to be contaminated with HIV. Following this exposure to the virus, Liu contracted AIDS. According to official statistics, in 2001 there were 850,000 AIDS sufferers in China, many of whom contracted the illness in the 1980s and 1990s as the result of a widespread plasma market operating in rural, impoverished areas and using unsafe collection methods.

2014, video, 2h 8m[132]

Ai Weiweis Appeal 15,220,910.50 opens with Ai Weiweis mother at the Venice Biennial in the summer of 2013 examining Ais large S.A.C.R.E.D. installation portraying his 81-day imprisonment. The documentary goes onto chronologically reconstruct the events that occurred from the time he was arrested at the Beijing airport in April 2011 to his final court appeal in September 2012. The film portrays the day-to-day activity surrounding Ai Weiwei, his family and his associates ranging from consistent visits by the authorities, interviews with reporters, support and donations from fans, and court dates. The Film premiered at the International Film Festival Rotterdam on 23 January 2014.

2015, video, 30m[133]

This documentary on the Fukushima Art Project is about artist Ai Weiweis investigation of the site as well as the project’s installation process. In August 2014, Ai Weiwei was invited as one of the participating artists for the Fukushima Nuclear Zone by the Japanese art coalition ChimPom, as part of the project Dont Follow the Wind . Ai accepted the invitation and sent his assistant Ma Yan to the exclusion zone in Japan to investigate the site. The Fukushima Nuclear Exclusion Zone is thus far located within the 20-kilometer radius of land area of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. 25,000 people have already been evacuated from the Exclusion Zone. Both water and electric circuits were cut off. Entrance restriction is expected to be relieved in the next thirty years, or even longer. The art project will also be open to public at that time. The three spots usable as exhibition spaces by the artists are all former residential houses, among which exhibition site one and two were used for working and lodging; and exhibition site three was used as a community entertainment facility with an ostrich farm. Ai brought about two projects, “A Ray of Hope” and “Family Album” after analyzing materials and information generated from the site. In “A Ray of Hope”, a solar photovoltaic system is built on exhibition site one, on the second level of the old warehouse. Integral LED lighting devices are used in the two rooms. The lights would turn on automatically from 7 to 10pm, and from 6 to 8am daily. This lighting system is the only light source in the Exclusion Zone after this project was installed. Photos of Ai and his studio staff at Caochangdi that make up project “Family Album” are displayed on exhibition site two and three, in the seven rooms where locals used to live. The twenty-two selected photos are divided in five categories according to types of event spanning eight years. Among these photos, six of them were taken from the site investigation at the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake; two were taken during the time when he was illegally detained after pleading the Tan Zuoren case in Chengdu, China in August 2009; and three others taken during his surgical treatment for his head injury from being attacked in the head by police officers in Chengdu; five taken of him being followed by the police and his Beijing studio Fake Design under surveillance due to the studio tax case from 2011 to 2012; four are photos of Ai Weiwei and his family from year 2011 to year 2013; and the other two were taken earlier of him in his studio in Caochangdi (One taken in 2005 and the other in 2006).

Ai’s visual art includes sculptural installations, woodworking, video and photography. “Ai Weiwei: According to What,” adapted and expanded by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden from a 2009 exhibition at Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, was Ai’s first North American museum retrospective.[134] It opened at the Hirshhorn in Washington, D.C. in 2013, and subsequently traveled to the Brooklyn Museum, New York,[135] and two other venues.

More recent works address his investigation into the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake and responses to the Chinese government’s detention and surveillance of him.[136]

In 2002, he was the curator of the project Jinhua Architecture Park.

In 2006, Ai and HHF Architects designed a private residence in upstate New York.[137] According to the New York Times, the Tsai Residence is divided into four modules and the details are “extraordinarily refined”.[137][138] In 2009, the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design selected the home for its International Architecture Awards, one of the world’s most prestigious global awards for new architecture, landscape architecture, interiors and urban planning.[139] In 2010, Wallpaper magazine nominated the residence for its Wallpaper Design Awards category: Best New Private House.[140] A detached guesthouse, also designed by Ai and HHF Architects, was completed after the main house and, according to New York Magazine, looks like a “floating boomerang of rusty Cor-Ten steel.”[141]

In 2008, Ai curated the architecture project Ordos 100 in Ordos City, Inner Mongolia. He invited 100 architects from 29 countries to participate in this project.[142]

Ai was commissioned as the artistic consultant for design, collaborating with the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, for the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics, also known as the “Bird’s Nest.”[143] Although ignored by the Chinese media, he had voiced his anti-Olympics views.[3] He later distanced himself from the project, saying, “I’ve already forgotten about it. I turn down all the demands to have photographs with it,” saying it is part of a “pretend smile” of bad taste.[144][145] In August 2007, he also accused those choreographing the Olympic opening ceremony, including Steven Spielberg and Zhang Yimou, of failing to live up to their responsibility as artists. Ai said “It’s disgusting. I don’t like anyone who shamelessly abuses their profession, who makes no moral judgment.”[146] In February 2008, Spielberg withdrew from his role as advisor to the 2008 Summer Olympics.[147][148] When asked why he participated in the designing of the Bird’s Nest in the first place, Ai replied “I did it because I love design.”[149]

In summer 2012, Ai teamed again with Herzog & de Meuron on a “would-be archaeological site [as] a game of make-believe and fleeting memory” as the year’s temporary Serpentine Gallery Pavilion in London’s Kensington Gardens.[150][151]

On 24 October 2012, Ai went live with a cover of Gangnam Style,[152] the famous K-pop phenomenon by South Korean rapper PSY, through the posting of a four-minute long parody video on YouTube. The video was an attempt to criticize the Chinese government’s attempt to silence his activism and was quickly blocked by national authorities.

On 22 May 2013, Ai debuted his first single Dumbass over the internet, with a music video shot by cinematographer Christopher Doyle. The video was a reconstruction of Ai’s experience in prison, during his 81-day detention, and dives in and out of the prison’s reality and the guarding soldiers’ fantasies.[153] He later released a second single, Laoma Tihua, on 20 June 2013 along with a video on his experience of state surveillance, with footage compiled from his studio’s documentaries.[154] On 22 June 2013, the two-year anniversary of Ai’s release, he released his first music album The Divine Comedy.[155] Later in August, he released a third music video for the song Chaoyang Park, also included in the album.[156]

Ai is the Artistic Director of China Art Archives & Warehouse (CAAW), which he co-founded in 1997. This contemporary art archive and experimental gallery in Beijing concentrates on experimental art from the People’s Republic of China, initiates and facilitates exhibitions and other forms of introductions inside and outside China.[157] The building which houses it was designed by Ai in 2000.[158]

On 15 March 2010, Ai took part in Digital Activism in China, a discussion hosted by The Paley Media Center in New York with Jack Dorsey (founder of Twitter) and Richard MacManus.[159] Also in 2010 he served as jury member for Future Generation Art Prize, Kiev, Ukraine; contributed design for Comme de Garcons Aoyama Store, Tokyo, Japan; and participated in a talk with Nobel Prize winner Herta Mller at the International Culture festival Litcologne in Cologne, Germany.

In 2011, Ai sat on the jury of an international initiative to find a universal Logo for Human Rights. The winning design, combining the silhouette of a hand with that of a bird, was chosen from more than 15,300 suggestions from over 190 countries. The initiative’s goal was to create an internationally recognized logo to support the global human rights movement.[98] In 2013, after the existence of the PRISM surveillance program was revealed, Ai said “Even though we know governments do all kinds of things I was shocked by the information about the US surveillance operation, Prism. To me, it’s abusively using government powers to interfere in individuals’ privacy. This is an important moment for international society to reconsider and protect individual rights.”[99]

In 2012, Weiwei interviewed a member of the 50 Cent Party, a group of “online commentators” (otherwise known as sockpuppets) covertly hired by the Chinese government to post “comments favourable towards party policies and [intending] to shape public opinion on internet message boards and forums”.[160] Keeping Ai’s source anonymous, the transcript was published by the British magazine New Statesman on 17 October 2012, offering insights on the education, life, methods and tactics used by professional trolls serving pro-government interests.

Ai designed the cover for 17 June 2013 issue of Time magazine. The cover story, by Hannah Beech, is “How China Sees the World”.[161] TIME Magazine called it “the most beautiful cover we’ve ever done in our history.”[162]

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Ai Weiwei – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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