Gangnam Style Spoof Criticises China’s Online Censorship
One of China’s provocative artists, Ai Weiwei, known for his outspokenness of political issues, has uploaded a Youtube video mimicking the “Gangnam Style” moves.
The “Grass-Mud Horse Style” video takes a dig at China’s online censorship.
Though there is no such animal as “grass mud horse,” the made-up phrase sounds similar to an obscenity in Mandarin. “It’s probably the most famous example of how Chinese netizens alter their language to sneak past censors,” The New York Daily News quoted the Dailydot.com.
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However, the Chinese Government was quick to block the video and now it can no longer be viewed in China.
“We only filmed for a bit over 10 minutes but we used a whole day to edit, and eventually put it online at midnight,” Ai told Reuters.
“After we had uploaded it, a few hours later … we found that a lot of people, tens of thousands, had already watched it. Now, in China, it has already been totally removed, deleted entirely, and you can’t see it in China,” Ai lamented.
Korean rapper PSY’s “Gangnam Style” video has become a rage worldwide due to his horse-like trademark moves. It is currently ranked second on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Inspired by the video, the United States Naval Academy's 22nd Company has also released a Gangnam Style parody video, which has amassed close to 4.8 million views, according to dailydot.com.
Meanwhile, Ai, who designed the 2008 Beijing Olympic National Stadium, is well known for embracing the internet and the social media as an active platform for commentary and as an art form in itself. But despite restrictions from travelling outside China, the artist continues to create art that “transcends dualities between East and West, focusing on fundamental questions about the interrelations between art, culture, society, and individual experience,” according to The Smithsonian's Museum of International Modern and Contemporary Art, where Ai’s work is currently on display.
The exhibition titled “According to What?” includes sculpture, photography, audio, video, and site-specific installations. While many of his works concentrate on conceptual and minimal art, others questions cultural values and political authority by manipulating traditional furniture, ancient pottery, and daily objects.
Several works also address his ongoing investigation into the aftermath of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake as well as his detention and continual surveillance by Chinese authorities. The value and place of an individual in a society is also explored in some other works.
Talking about the exhibition, Ai stated: “The exhibition is based on a 2009 show at Tokyo’s Mori Art Museum, but has been developed especially for the US and includes new works and fresh perspectives on the old. About a third of the works in this version of the show differ from those on view at the Mori.
“I’ve experienced dramatic changes in my living and working conditions over the past few years, and this exhibition has been an opportunity to re-examine past work and communicate with audiences from afar. I see it as a stream of activities rather than a fixed entity. It is part of a continual process in self-expression.”