Article summary – Ai Wei Wei

This dialogue with AI Wei Wei explores his personal views and approach to design in China as expressed through the work of his office, Beijing Fake Cultural Development (now defunct). He ponders his personal history with Beijing, how it has affected his work and how his approach may have been more abstract if he lived in the West.

Speaking more broadly on his generation and China itself, he declines to pass judgement on the correctness of the diverging political path it has chosen from the West nor predict where its future is heading, but is excited with the pace of development. Indeed, he sees the unpredictability of the future as an antithesis to dull, meaningless and unimaginative design which he sees increasingly in the present time.

Concluding, he is interested to see if at this turning point in history, as Asian contemporaneity develops alongside Western modernity, increasing globalisation will merely see the unquestioning appropriation of the West’s position by Asia or if indeed Asia will be able to develop a new distinct relationship with design, technology and urban-ism.

Grima, J 2008, Instant Asia: Fast Forward through the Architecture of a Changing Continent, Skira editore, Milan, Italy

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