This paper examines the moving images of Ai Weiwei, paying special attention to his documentary “Fairytale Film” on the one hand, and his Beijing video projects on the other. Drawing on the works of Gilles Deleuze on cinema and Giorgio Agamben on gesture, it analyses the primacy of gesture in the works of Ai in general and in his cinematic works in particular. Using Agamben’s distinction between making (cinematic works), acting (performance) and being endured and supported (cinematic gestures), this paper explores the relationship between Ai’s moving images and gestures and specific characteristics of the images determined by this relationship.
This research into the cinematic practices of Ai Weiwei aims not only to elucidate one of the aspects fundamental to the creative process of the artist but also to clarify some issues of the contemporary debate on artists’ films, especially those raising the questions of the compatibility of the Deleuzian theory of cinematic images and Agamben’s concept of gesture. Special attention is paid to the discussion of Deleuze’s notions of the political cinema and the cinema of the body and Agamben’s view of cinema as essentially belonging to the realm of ethics and politics.
|Keywords:||Ai Weiwei, Artists’ Film, Gesture, Gilles Deleuze, Giorgio Agamben, Political Cinema|
Lecturer, Department of Culture and Design, Information Systems Management Institute, Riga, Latvia