Thursday, May 2, 2013

Ai Weiwei & Globalization

Globalization first started around the times of the the Industrial Revolution and the age of expansion. A key element included the Columbian Exchange in which items from the New World were shipped back to the Old World. For example, the potato introduced to Ireland that eventually helped Ireland overcome a food shortage. Tell tale signs of globalization include post-industrial societies, global consumerism, and outsourcing. However, globalization is not all positive, it also comes with introduction of new diseases to cultures, loss of culture and traditional morals, and assimilation.
Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist that has and is currently pushing and criticizing the social norms of art and artifacts with a main focus on globalization. Specifically, the negative effects of globalism with his works on ancient vases. With his Tang Dynasty Vase (above), Weiwei painted the worldwide known Coca-Cola logo on a priceless vase from the Tang Dynasty that was around during 618 AD - 907 AD. By doing this, Wei is making a direct comment on the fact that globalization has taken over and is effecting the traditional values of the Old World societies and history.

Weiwei is also known for the destruction of these priceless vases. Here in particular, Weiwei is photographed dropping and destroying the Tang Dynasty Vase. Weiwei is now commenting on not only does globalization is not only effecting culture and history, but is destroying it as well.  Coca-Cola may be a billion dollar company that provides refreshments to the world, but is it worth the cost of a culture's past traditions and history? This is the main questions that Weiwei is posing to world and to China. He is making the officials of China at least acknowledge what is going on with globilization through these demonstrations. Any other person performing these acts would surely be prosecuted to the full extent in China, however Weiwei has made such a name and ironically globally known that he has merely been arrested and that more crucial actions by the Chinese because it would cause an uprising in the art community and in China. So, Weiwei continues his work, and the government forced to listen. 
Important to Weiwei's statement see

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