Where in the world is Ai Weiwei?
Anyone with an Instagram account can see that he's in Berlin. Weiwei recently arrived on a four-year multiple entry visa and immediately adopted an open-book strategy in the Hauptstadt, recording his daily life with endless iPhone snapshots and selfies.
The savvy social media media follower can track his whereabouts quite easily: no need to read the newspaper. A glimpse at his Instagram reads like a Berlin journal, showing the Chinese artist with everyone from Mayor Michael Müller to Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokno.
In defiance of the Big Brother state, Weiwei presents himself to the world entirely on his own terms: how he wants and when he wants. When Die Zeit stole a snap of the artist before their interview, Weiwei used Instagram to fight back, shaming the Zeit journalist for misquoting him.
We've followed him across town, mostly Mitte where his studio and family are, through his Instagram account. Here is a collection of eight of the best shots from around the city. And a few tips on where he can expand his Berlin horizons...
With mayor Michael Müller
With Renate Künast
With Nadya Tolokno of Pussy Riot
With actor Daniel Brühl
With his son
At Viet-café Quà Phê in Mitte
At the Patti Smith concert at Tempodrom
At bio bakery Zeit für Brot in Mitte
Checking out a statue of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
A few tips for his selfie journey through Berlin:
- We love our neighbour, Quà Phê, but we also recommend Minh Trang in Charlottenburg for some of the most authentic phó in town.
- Perhaps it’s more apt to recommend some sturdy German cuisine from Max und Moritz, which serves up Berlin classics such as Hoppel-Poppel (a traditional Berlin-style omelette) and Bollenfleisch (lamb stew).
- In terms of another Berlin monument, the Molecule Man in the Spree might be obvious but it's particularly relevant for Weiwei, as the statue is literally larger than life, transparent and uncompromising.
- Weiwei is a proven water baby, so a visit to the Liquidrom might suit him once the days get cooler, providing a relaxing contrast to rocking it out to Patti Smith next door at Tempodrom.
- Nobody can resist fawning over the photos of Ai’s son riding bikes and inspecting wasps as he enjoys touring around Berlin. For more family fun, Märchenbrunnen in Volkspark Friedrichshain is lined with figures from classic fairytales.
And then there's always our office, for an interview – or maybe we’ll settle for a selfie.