Ai Weiwei spent an hour on Tuesday morning — it was Tuesday night in China — answering questions from curious fans and dodging the disappointed comments from one angry hippie in an MSNBC live chat. Even Ai's cat made a momentary cameo. For the most part the discussion followed a pretty formulaic path. Ai fielded questions about everything from his on-going struggled to defend himself against tax evasion accusations by the Chinese government to the recent trouble over the use of nudity in his art. The hour-long livechat was hardly a free-for-all as all of the questions were vetted by an NBC moderator. (We tried asking Ai about his views on America's pending and hotly controversial internet censorship laws, but we didn't make the cut.) But the most interesting moment came when Ai called the Occupy movement "hopeless", "primitive" and even "lacking of content." It was around this time that Ai's cat showed up:
Despite our wanting to learn much more about this amazing cat that can open doors, the conversation continued for a few more questions. Ai was "deeply impressed" with the support he received when raising money for his legal defense against the Chinese government. He's "not optimistic" about China's future. Ai was apparently coaxed into sticking around for a couple extra questions with "a bowl of tangerines." The nudity art didn't go over well, Ai says, "because China has never been a society with no freedom of sex." Ai says he has "unfinished business in China." Now, finally back to those mean things he said about the protesters!
To answer that final question, Ai explains, "I’m not talking to press. I’m talking to people."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.