Ai Weiwei - Straight (2013)
“It was the Sichuan earthquake in May of 2008 that turned Mr. Ai from cultural purveyor to iconoclast. He rightly believed that the tragedy of this event, a thousand miles from Beijing in the heart of rural China, was magnified by the state’s refusal to investigate its particularly tragic circumstances: the death of more than 5,000 children due to shoddy school construction.
In the years that followed, Mr. Ai put this belief into action. He visited the devastation, documenting the sites in photos and videos, and organized what he called a ‘citizens’ investigation’ to identify and memorialize each child killed in this disaster.
Straight is made up of 38 tons of rebar (steel rod) recovered from Sichuan after the earthquake and is a rough and powerful work regardless of what else we know about it.”