FALLING WALLS CONFERENCE :: AI WEIWEI AND OLAFUR ELIASSON ASSOCIATED TO LAUNCH A NEW DIGITAL PUBLIC PLATFORM
BREAKING DOWN THE WALL OF NUMBNESS: ARTISTS AI WEIWEI AND OLAFUR ELIASSON WILL LAUNCH A NEW DIGITAL PUBLIC PLATFORM FOR CREATIVE COLLABORATION AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AT THE FALLING WALLS CONFERENCE IN BERLIN ON NOVEMBER 9.
He might still not be able to leave China, but Ai Weiwei, one of the most influential artists and activists of our times, will be at the coming Falling Walls Conference in Berlin. Ai will be live in web-chat from his studio in China on 9 November with another leading figure of the art world, Olafur Eliasson, who will be on stage in Berlin at the Radialsystem, where the conference takes place. Weiwei and Eliasson will launch their first collaboration: a new digital public platform for creative collaboration, . celebrating the freedom of expression.
With their upcoming project Olafur Eliasson and Ai Weiwei they will explore the power of digital and social media as a space for interaction and creative expression beyond external borders. Ai Weiwei is a frequent user of digital media, using Twitter, Instagram and other online social forums for international correspondence and as a medium for his artistic work. One of the most prominent Chinese dissidents, Weiwei openly displays his critical view of the Chinese government and its human rights violations, in particular the lack of freedom of speech. He has paid for both his activism and critical art with time in prison for alleged economic crimes against the state, and the loss of his Shanghai studio space, which was demolished under official orders. The authorities have not yet returned his passport, preventing him from attending his numerous shows outside China, including his recent participation at the Venice Biennale, or commencing his work as a visiting professor at the Berlin University of the Arts. Despite these constraints, Ai Weiwei continues to use art and digital media to promote individualism among his fellow citizens.
Olafur Eliasson has a unique ability to challenge conventions of space, time and society. Named “a model for a future art” by the NY Times, he built artificial waterfalls along the shorelines of Manhattan and Brooklyn, dyed rivers green in Los Angeles, Stockholm and Tokyo, and staged a sunset in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern. Eliasson’s Berlin studio is a creative factory of over seventy professionals from the most diverse backgrounds. As a professor at the Berlin University of the Arts, Eliasson set up the Institute for Spatial Experiments in his Studio, focusing on
alternative arts education. Eliasson is also co- founder of Little Sun GmbH, a social entrepreneurship to distribute his Little Sun solar lamp in off-grid regions around the world. At the 2013 Falling Walls Conference, Olafur Eliasson hosts the opening session and introduces an unprecedented collaboration with Ai Weiwei, connected via web broadcast from Beijing. Together, they address the topics of freedom and creative collaboration with an ambitious public platform.
The Falling Walls Conference is a unique international platform for leaders from the worlds of science, business, politics, the arts and society. It was initiated on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall in 2009. The main question of every Falling Walls gathering is: Which walls will fall next? Falling Walls fosters discussion on research and innovation and promotes the latest scientific findings among a broad audience from all parts of society. (mb) For more information: www.falling-walls.com. The conference can also be followed on livestream http://falling-walls.com/livestream. Image: Ai_Weiwei, interviewed by Olafur Eliasson at the Louisiana Contemporary in Copenhagen in 2012.