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Psy-ops for freedom of speech: 'Gangnam Style' revamped in support of Chinese dissident

Published time: November 15, 2012 07:52
Edited time: November 15, 2012 11:52
Indian born British sculptor Anish Kapoor. (AFP Photo / Justin Tallis)

Indian born British sculptor Anish Kapoor. (AFP Photo / Justin Tallis)

Psy's video “Gangnam Style” has triggered a number of parodies. The creator of Britain's largest piece of public art, The ArcelorMittal Orbit sculpture, Anish Kapoor, is set to create his spin on Psy's hit to promote free speech.

­The British-Indian sculptor is gathering an array of artists, actors and dancers to help him recreate the video, originally by South Korean pop star Psy, The Telegraph reports.

The new video will be created to show support to dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who joined the army of Gangnam Style fans and released his cover version of South Korean rapper’s hugely popular video shortly after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took a “lesson” in dancing from Psy.

In the four-minute video posted on YouTube, 55-year-old Ai was mimicking the rapper's “horse-riding” dance. At one point, the Chinese artist, whose creations tackle the issues of freedom, civil rights and morality, takes a pair of handcuffs from his pocket and starts waving them above his head, presumably to remind his fans of the time he spent in detention.

Access to the parody was blocked in China by local authorities.

Last year Ai Weiwei was detained without charge and held in solitary confinement for nearly three months as part of a government crackdown on dissidents, sparking an international outcry among artists and human rights activists.

Ai was accused by the Chinese government of owing back taxes and of late payments. He later managed to pay a bond of nearly 1 million euro; the sum was raised by his fans and supporters.

Earlier this month the Chinese authorities closed down the firm handling Ai’s affairs, possibly saving him from paying the remainder of his US$2.4 million tax fine.

Kapoor urged Chinese authorities to release Ai when he was detained last year. The Times quoted him as saying that the freedom to make art was "by no means taken for granted by all residents of this planet."

He said a number of people were keen to take part in the new video in support of Ai. "Even people who can't be here are sending footage of themselves doing the dance."