Ai Weiwei has gone public with his musical debut: a heavy metal video of a track called Dumbass.
The song, directed by Ai with cinematography by filmmaker Christopher Doyle, depicts the Chinese artist’s 81 days in detention in 2011. The video was released an hour before the opening of Art Basel Hong Kong, according to Ai’s UK representative Lisson Gallery.
“There was one thing I thought was interesting,” the artist told Reuters in Beijing. “When I was detained, there was a paramilitary officer standing there very seriously watching me, and he asked me quietly if I could sing a song.”
“At the time I felt extremely frustrated, because I felt terrible, and I realised that in a situation like that, these guards felt just like me, they wanted to hear songs,” he added.
The video sees Ai having his head and signature beard shaved.
The lyrics rail against the authorities, and are also dotted with obscenities, according to Reuters.
The rest of the six-track heavy metal album will be released next month, and contains songs about internet censorship and blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng.