Found on Ai Weiwei’s Instagram feed, here’s what some cool kids are up to: “hand-held guns,” they call it. There are some uncanny resemblances to The Red Detachment of Women, the famous Chinese ballet that debuted in 1964…
Is there something more subversive going on here, or is the point of this to make us over-analyze a silly meme? Hmm.
UPDATE, 6/14, 1:02 am: Says someone from Ai Weiwei’s studio: “A colleague saw a post of the Chinese dancers then took a photo. The rest of us started doing our own versions.”
UPDATE, 6/14, 8:38 pm: Here’s an informative Guardian article about the “leg-gun” pose:
Weiwei’s so-called leg-gun series certainly raises more questions than it answers. Whether this is a political gesture, a genuinely subversive criticism of state-controlled media, an artistic expression or simply his answer to the famous “Angelina Jolie’s leg” meme remains a mystery. But the fact that one underwear-flashing, calf-clasping photo can produce a global conversation about state freedom, violence, Chinese communism, artistic interpretation and global power speaks volumes about the potency of the artist in our internet age.
As one Chinese commenter said on The Red Detachment of Women image posted by Weiwei, “This firing made loopholes.” We’ll just have to wait and see where those loopholes lead.
And the AWW original that began it all: