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Ai Weiwei on his incarceration: “They never looked away from me, 24 hours a day”

On Sunday night, a cheer broke out across Toronto’s David Pecaut Square as Laurie Anderson called out, “Let’s hear it for the whistleblowers!” The three men she singled out from the stage – Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and Edward Snowden – all pasty-looking, unlikely Robin Hoods of classified information, are acquiring the cachet of rock stars. So too is Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, now a rebellious rocker himself: his debut album, The Divine Comedy, is released this weekend. As part of Anderson’s one-off performance, Greetings to the Motherland, Weiwei’s stern face was projected, via Skype, onto three giant screens in front of a crowd of 3,000, as he and the spiky-haired performance artist engaged in a “duet/rant” about their respective homelands: China and the country that Anderson calls “something that they found on the way to China.”

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