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1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows
1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows: A Memoir | Ai Weiwei
18 posts | 4 read | 1 reading | 8 to read
In his widely anticipated memoir, Ai Weiwei--one of the world's most famous artists and activists--tells a century-long epic tale of China through the story of his own extraordinary life and the legacy of his father, Ai Qing, the nation's most celebrated poet. Hailed as "the most important artist working today" by the Financial Times and as "an eloquent and unsilenceable voice of freedom" by The New York Times, Ai Weiwei has written a sweeping memoir that presents a remarkable history of China over the last 100 years while illuminating his artistic process. Once an intimate of Mao Zedong, Ai Weiwei's father was branded a rightist during the Cultural Revolution, and he and his family were banished to a desolate place known as "Little Siberia," where Ai Qing was sentenced to hard labor cleaning public toilets. Ai Weiwei recounts his childhood in exile, and his difficult decision to leave his family to study art in America, where he befriended Allen Ginsberg and was inspired by Andy Warhol. With candor and wit, he details his return to China and his rise from artistic unknown to art world superstar and international human rights activist--and how his work has been shaped by living under a totalitarian regime. Ai Weiwei's sculptures and installations have been viewed by millions around the globe, and his architectural achievements include helping to design the iconic Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing. His political activism has long made him a target of the Chinese authorities, which culminated in months of secret detention without charge in 2011. Here, for the first time, Ai Weiwei explores the origins of his exceptional creativity and passionate political beliefs through his own life story and that of his father, whose own creativity was stifled. At once ambitious and intimate, 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows offers a deep understanding of the myriad forces that have shaped modern China, and serves as a timely reminder of the urgent need to protect freedom of expression.
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quote
Lindy
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Never forget that under a totalitarian system, cruelty and absurdity go hand in hand.

Lindy Kind of a random photo—it‘s from an art exhibit I saw yesterday—but I‘m clearing out my phone‘s Notes app and came across this quote that I transcribed while listening to the audiobook. 6mo
Soubhiville That‘s fun! 6mo
Soubhiville The photo, not the quote. 6mo
DivineDiana Looks like a fantastic exhibit! ❤️ 6mo
37 likes4 comments
blurb
TheBee
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Happy new year from me and Bunbun. We will be going into 2022 reading Ai Weiwei‘s memoir to stay clear of the virus. Stay healthy, safe and free my fellow book lovers! May happier times lay ahead of us 🍀🍾🎊

#newyearseve #happynewyear #readingbuddy #aiweiwei #whiterabbit #memoir #2021 #2022

Leftcoastzen So cute! Safe & Happy New year 6mo
WJCintron To you too!!! That's a cutie!! 😻 Blessings and have a great night! 6mo
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CarolynM Happy New Year 6mo
Nute Happy New Year, Nina!💜🥳💜 Also hoping for happier times ahead! 6mo
TheBee @Nute ✨🍀✨ may you be well healthy!!! 6mo
40 likes6 comments
review
Floresj
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Pickpick

First off, I‘d like to state that I was so impressed with Ai WeiWei‘s art, activism, and life- that deserves 5/5 stars. I really liked some parts of the book, but other portions- though I was interested- I slogged through it. His life was really interesting and he does an excellent job connecting his art to his activism. Good, not great.

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review
JackieGreco
Pickpick

I adored this book. This was the best book I have read in such a long time. It helped me learn about the people‘s republic of China through Ai Weiwei‘s experiences and his fathers. I wish I could read this many times over.

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Lindy
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Pickpick

When I saw Ai Weiwei‘s ancient vases covered in paint in a museum, I scratched my head & wondered if he was nuts. Conceptual art is like that. Reading his memoir illuminated much: what an amazing, fascinating life he has lived until now! The world-famous artist is a born contrarian who uses his creative energy to battle human rights abuses in China. I look at his work (online) with new understanding. #Audiobook read by David Shih.

Karisa His exhibit at Alcatraz was the most amazing art show I‘ve ever seen. So many human rights activists were represented, spoke about mental health, and the mediums used were so varied (from legos to ceramics to giant fabric dragons). It stretched throughout several buildings/rooms. It was stunning! 7mo
Lindy @Karisa oooh! That does sound stunning. 7mo
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Lindy
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Self-censorship amounts to self-abasement, and timidity is the road to despair. People asked me, How do you dare say those things on your blog? My answer was, If I don‘t say them, it will put me in an even more dangerous situation. But if I say them, change might occur. To speak is better than not to speak. If everyone spoke, the society would have transformed itself long ago. ↘️

Lindy (Continued) Change happens when every citizen says what he or she wants to say. One person‘s silence exposes another to danger. 7mo
28 likes1 comment
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Lindy
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A state security agent […] presented me with a packet of beef jerky, a carton of tea, and a live, giant salamander—a rare creature that I had never seen before in my life—along with a set of tips on how to cook it. I remember only the first line of the instructions, that you need to nail it to a chopping board & then cut it into pieces. We did not do this, and kept the salamander as a pet.

DivineDiana I am so happy with that decision! 🙏🏻 7mo
Lindy @DivineDiana 👯‍♂️ 7mo
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Lindy
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China executes more people than any other country. It accounts for more than half the executions in the world.

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Lindy
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Things have to follow a set procedure in China. No matter how you argue your case, an individual has no right to challenge authority and humiliation is often presented as an honour that you are fortunate to receive.

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Lindy
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—To conventional culture, art should be a nail in the eye. A spike in the flesh. Gravel in the shoe. The reason why art cannot be ignored is that it destabilizes that which seems settled and secure.
—Don‘t try to dream other people‘s dreams.

(Examples of advice Weiwei has given to young artists)

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Lindy
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Father accepted his lot stoically. As he put it, earlier in life he had no idea who cleaned toilets for him, and so it wasn‘t unreasonable to expect him to now do cleaning for others.

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Lindy
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In China, no matter what choice you make when you come to a crossroads in life, it is hard to avoid becoming politic‘s plaything.

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Lindy
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In the early days of the cultural revolution, almost every day, or every night, there were directives from Chairman Mao to transmit. The company‘s copy clerk would write them down word by word and line by line as they were read out over the telephone. These messages served a function similar to Donald Trump‘s late night tweets while in office. They were the direct communication of a leader‘s thoughts to his devoted followers.

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Lindy
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Word spread online of the locations of simultaneous Jasmine Revolution rallies in China‘s major cities at 2 pm on Feb 20. No sooner had the news begun to spread than the characters for jasmine were blocked on the internet in China, & even the character for flower became a sensitive word. On Chinese language websites it was impossible to input sentences that included the word tomorrow or today. Florists were not allowed to sell jasmine blossoms.

Reggie So they had a tennis player say she was harassed by a high ranking official and the same day they took out the characters for tennis. 7mo
Lindy @Reggie Ai Weiwei is uncompromising in his belief that people must speak out, in order to change this oppressive system. 7mo
26 likes2 comments
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Lindy
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The work involved in making a single sunflower seed was no less complicated than the making of other ceramics, with more than 20 steps in the production process. Surely such a project can be done on such a large scale only in today‘s China, where it‘s possible to hire 1600 skilled artisans to work on a project with their own hands, all at the same time.
(Internet photo of Ai Weiwei‘s sunflower seeds at the Tate Modern)

Lindy “Regarding this huge expanse of sunflower seeds, visitors to the Tate wondered, Where did they all come from? Why so many? Who made them?” —Ai Weiwei 7mo
27 likes1 comment
blurb
Lindy
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Audiobaking with 20th century Chinese history in my ears. (Making Snowy-Topped Brownie Drops from Dorie‘s Cookies.)

Texreader Mmmm!! 7mo
kspenmoll Yum!!! 7mo
Reggie These look and sound delicious! 7mo
Lindy @Reggie @Texreader @kspenmoll They are like brownies in cookie format. The powdered sugar makes them look special, doesn‘t it? 7mo
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review
Twocougs
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Pickpick

What a fascinating story about a father and his son (& then his son) in China. Art really does play an important role in societies. Definitely worth reading!

blurb
Megabooks
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Gave into the fomo and it was still available! #NewReleaseTuesday

Cinfhen Your library is so AMAZING!!! 8mo
Megabooks @Cinfhen I love it!! 8mo
Crazeedi What library do you belong to? I joined Brooklyn public library for $50 a year because my local library is so small. And also wanted to tell you I joined storygraph and finally figured out how to upload my goodreads books to it!! It took me a while but I'm proud I figured it out, 8mo
Crazeedi I think I'm going to love it!! 8mo
Megabooks @Crazeedi I‘m sorry I missed this! The library is my local one, and they don‘t accept out of town memberships, unfortunately. So glad you figured out the storygraph! It is definitely my favorite way to track books now. 😁 8mo
68 likes5 comments