Saturday, 23 April 2011
The Chinese artist, architect and activist Ai Weiwei, who has recently been arrested by his government at Beijing airport, remarked of his blog (before it was closed down by that same government): ‘I spend 90% of my energy on blogging’. Wow, that’s certainly very impressive, though it doesn’t seem to leave a lot of time or energy over for the rest of life. Posting an entry every day for nearly four years surely would take it out of you, even if you were doing a terrific job of challenging an authoritarian regime in the process.
So I feel myself inspired by Weiwei’s blogging commitment, though I think I’ll stay well on this side of his 90%. And I’m inspired too by his project of contemporary cultural and political challenge, even if in a democracy that obviously doesn’t pose the severe dangers that it did to him. I don’t want to give up my exploration of William Morris and literary utopia, which has been the goal of this blog from its beginning in late 2007; but I do want – moved partly by Weiwei’s example – increasingly to turn both Morris and utopia to contemporary account, to make them ways into an engaged cultural analysis of our present.