“Ai Weiwei Drifting”: Portrait of a Homeless


The new DW-documentary follows Ai Weiwei during his work on his own documentary “the Human Flow”. Created an impressive Portrait of one of China’s best-known artists in the West.

It was supposed to be a documentary about his work at the University of the arts. But it was a very personal Film about the creation of the Western world’s most famous artist, China’s Ai Weiwei, filmmaker, architect, concept artist and sculptor.

In view of the Europe in-breaking Refugee crisis Weiwei worked on a separate documentation. For the “Human Flow”, which is currently in post-production, and filmed film teams in 25 countries, including Afghanistan, Palestine and Mexico. The Film shows the tragedy of people who flee from their home and from which thousands in the Mediterranean sea, are drowned.

The DW-author Bettina Kolb and Eva flour

For 15 months, the DW-authors and Director Eva flour and Bettina Kolb accompanied him. The main focus of the nearly hour-long documentary, which was created in cooperation with the Deutsche Welle and the Einstein Foundation, and now in the Berlin Premiere, is Weiwei’s artistic engagement with the refugee crisis. The documentation shows how the 1957 born in Beijing, the artists interviewed in December 2015 refugees in Idomeni at the Greek-Macedonian border, filmed, photographed.

An oppressive feeling can sometimes be in the audience, if Weiwei with his cell phone, photographed in plastic traipsing through mud, running refugees in their makeshift tents or for the right camera setting is looking to interview shortly before Stranded.

Art knows no boundaries?

This question accompanied the artist to his creation. His Fans see him as a provocateur with his works skillfully with the Finger on the wound. With his Installation of 9,000 satchels, to remember the death of thousands of school children in the great earthquake in Sichuan in 2008. So he would like to make to the grievances of the Chinese construction industry to the attention that he sees for the death of the children in the responsibility. Or in the case of his projects to the refugee crisis. His critics accuse him of using the media public to bring to with seemingly political statements themselves in the spotlight.

All just a Show for the media, or serious activism?

Particularly, according to the criticism of him was, as he was after the photo of the 2015 on the Turkish coast of drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi. The to meet him and expressed indignation, he replied in the documentation clearly: no one was able to explain to him why it was morally. That people do not echauffierten about his presentation, but the fact that every day children are dying in Aleppo, was ridiculous.

Following the Premiere of the DW-documentation, he responded to the question of whether or not the limits of art are exceeded: “as long As the artist is a man, he must deal with human crises.”

The artist with Peter Limbourg, Director General of DW, and Günter Stock, President of the Einstein Foundation at the Premiere

Weiwei’s art is polarized, its message is simple: “We must understand that we are all one,” he explains. “That what happens in Africa, the Middle East or elsewhere, also has an effect on us. Even we, living in democratic societies, and think that we are sure will be amazed to see how fast everything can change.”

A life between Beijing, New York and Berlin

In addition to the film footage and Work, all dealing with flight and Migration, visit the film-makers get together with Weiwei stations of his life between Beijing, New York and Berlin, to tell them Weiwei from his life: his father, his New York years 1981-1993, his imprisonment in 2011, his move to Berlin in 2015.

In addition, the documentary “Ai Weiwei Drifting” insight into personal moments from the everyday life of the artist: Weiwei in his kitchen in Berlin during cooking. At home in front of the TV with his son. The visit with his mother in Beijing, told as Only one in the movie something about Weiwei. The filmmakers succeeded in these private moments authentically capture. His son, he says in the Film, have a better relationship to his mother than to him. He was a strict father and would interfere always and everywhere. This may not be his son.

He was a strict father, Ai Weiwei.

“For me, it was Weiwei as an Enigma”, the filmmaker Bettina Kolb experience. “I never knew what was going on in his head. Above all, he is super fast,” says the artist who currently has eight different exhibitions. Eva flour, however, is impressed by the way that Weiwei is on the people to have been received: “He has to he set to them, just to spend time with you.”

With impressive camera shots, the documentary “Ai Weiwei Drifting” a very personal Portrait of one of the world’s most well-known artist who says about himself: “I have no home. My home is the Internet.”