The ‘Middle Finger’ is the new project of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei, who is now trying to take his famous finger all over the world. He has created a digital platform that allows you to superimpose Ai Weiwei’s hand with its middle finger flipped on any location recorded on the ubiquitous Google Street Maps. The collaboration with the company Avant Arte led to his latest idea for the Perspective Studies series.
The platform allows users to superimpose Weiwei’s finger to a number of famous monuments such as the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House and Trump Tower. According to the magazine Hypebeast, the initiative also features works by Vincent Van Gogh, Hans Holbein The Younger, and Banksy.
“We often forget that we have a middle finger. Or even if we know we have a middle finger, we misuse it. I think it’s good to remember that this part of your body can point to something — an institution, or someone that resembles a power — to let them know, and let yourself know, that you exist.”
Since 1995, the Chinese artist and activist has been making the gesture and recording it in photographs. The series he called “Study of Perspective” dates back to 1989, when hundreds of protesters were killed by the Chinese government in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. Study of Perspective is a series of images captured between 1995 and 2003, where the artist traveled the world and, in various parts of the globe, photographed his finger in the air.
I think it’s good to remember that this part of your body can point to an institution to let them know that you exist.Ai Weiwei
The Tiananmen Square has a powerful symbolic significance in the sense that the Chinese government regards Ai Weiwei as an enemy of the regime. The artist was detained by the authorities in 2011, in an action that was intended to pressure dissidents. Detained at the airport and unreachable for several hours, Weiwei was released after 81 days. He was emaciated.
“The power of an obscene gesture is that anyone can do it,” reads the page about the project. That’s why Weiwei’s iconic finger is now available to everyone, inviting to share their own perspective on power.
The project coincides with an exhibition by the artist at the Design Museum in London. “Making Sense” brings together new and archival works, with the intention of questioning our relationship with the objects that surround us. On March 30th an edition of silkscreen prints the called ”Middle Finger in Red” will be launched, available for 24 hours only.