Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident and countercultural artist, has released a “heavy metal” single called “Dumbass”, inspired by his 81-day detention in 2011, which was part of an overall crackdown on dissent by the Chinese government. The official clip for the song, which was directed by Ai and features cinematography by acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Doyle, can be seen below.
In 2011, Ai Weiwei disappeared for nearly three months after angering the authorities with his criticism, highlighting sensitive issues, particularly the death of children in poorly built schools during the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan.
Authorities said that Ai was detained for tax evasion and insisted his case was unrelated to human rights.
“This is dedicated to all those people who do not have the opportunity to raise their voice, who will never be able to raise their voices,” Ai said about the “Dumbass” video.
“This is not just one generation. In the past 60 years there have been innumerable amounts of people who have been killed or taken away from their homes, even tortured to death.”
The music for “Dumbass” was composed by Zuoxiao Zuzhou, a Beijing-based heavy-metal artist and friend of Ai.
Weiwei will release a six-song album, “Divina Commedia”, named after the poem by Italian poet Dante, in June. Two of the songs on the CD are dedicated to Chen Guangcheng, the civil rights crusader who escaped incarceration from a Chinese prison while blind and on an injured ankle.
Regarding the quality of his musical output, Weiwei told Reuters: “It doesn’t sound very good, because I don’t have any real skill… And I found that in making music, I have a lot of difficulties. But I am trying very hard, and I will keep doing it, and I have hope to become someone who sings comparatively well.”