Ai Weiwei has announced in a post on Twitter (see his English feed here) that he will be holding a ‘River Crab Fest’ on November 7 in ironic celebration of the planned demolition of his studio in Shanghai. Which made us ask: what studio in Shanghai??
Well, according to him it’s located in the Jiading District north of the city center, and its demolition was only delayed this long because of EXPO. Construction projects around the city were halted to improve air quality, and have resumed since Sunday (as evidenced in the dismaying decline in air quality we noticed yesterday.) The project apparently cost $1.1 million, and lo and behold there are pictures of the thing on Douban.
He told CRT on Monday that authorities first invited him to build the studio two years ago, then last weekend they announced its demolition as punishment for his recent political activities. Lately, those activities most notably include campaigning for the family of Chen Xiaofeng, a university student run over and killed by the son of an official in the city of Baoding, Hebei, sparking a massive internet meme when the driver shouted “My father is Li Gang!” while fleeing the scene.
Ai was also highly vocal in his support for Liu Xiaobo, which probably didn’t win him any brownie points either.
The River Crab shindig on the 7th promises plenty of Chinese wine (=baijiu?) and 10,000(!!) river crabs for supporters who show up. Based out of Beijing, it remains unclear whether or not the man himself will be attending. The location is listed on his Twitter for any of you adventurous enough to make the trek.