"Western Screech Owl Habitats"- installed as a series of elegant porcelain "nests" by renowned Chinese avant-garde artist Ai Weiwei. The piece is a ritual request for the ten-years-gone Western Screech Owl to return to the Presidio. The connections between California and China resonate and weave themselves into the presence. The highly successful, outspoken, and socially provocative Ai Weiwei is now imprisoned by the Chinese government for highly suspicious reasons.
I have come to an interesting and compelling relationship with "Presidio Habitats", the current, environmental, site specific art exhibition in the northwest Presidio highlands. Every time I come here and concentrate on one or more of the installations I have a synchronistic, mind altering experience. Since this exhibit seems to be striking deep chords, my response here will likely extend over more than one day.
Yesterday, in a giant cypress tree near Fort Scott, I discovered the work "Western Screech Owl Habitatsl" by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Just now I receive an email from San Francisco's Haines Gallery with the title (all in caps) "RELEASE WEIWEI!!" calling for a demonstration at the Chinese Consulate, 1450 Laguna Street this Sunday, 4-17, at 1:00 PM. As I dig down into Weiwei's story I am touched, impressed and activated. Weiwei is now being held in prison by the Chinese government for his bold outspoken acts challenging the Chinese culture to break out of it's materialistic-authoritarian dream of the past thirty years. He is a sublime conceptual, sculptural and architectural artist as well as a social activist and digital provocateur. This is an unfolding story that carries deep and serious meaning for all the countries and citizens of our interconnected world. Learn more.
For more on the demonstation of solidarity with Ai Weiwei this Sunday, 4-17-11, 1 PM at the Chinese Consulate go to the Haines Gallery Facebook page. It will be fascinating to see how our local Asian community reacts to this situation/event, including Mayor Ed Lee and the Chinese Chamber of Commerce.