Picture from The Sand Storm campaign at Kickstarter
Made by Jason Wishnow
What would your life be like if you wouldn't have access to water? What could life be without water? In the short film The Sand Storm we face a world where the shortage of one of life's most essential elements is a reality. The artist Ai Weiwei stars as a water smuggler who brings life to the thirsty.
The story is a metaphor about the artist and the confined people, where the artist is the bringer of life, the one who brings water, and who knows the way to ”Ma Le Ge Bi”, where he also brings a suffering woman. From this place it seems possible to reach another world where life can grow, if it is only possible to pass through the wall that here is made out of barb wire.
That the artist Ai Weiwei has the role of a life giver is one level of this story. Another level is the strange place ”Ma Le Ge Bi” that is a reference to the censorship in China and the need to use metaphors, here in the form of mythical or legendary creatures and places where they live.
Ma Le Ge Bi, the Mahler Gobi Desert, is Chinese political slang for a place where the Grass Mud Horse lives. So in all this short movie is a thick weave of messages that for instance consists of politics or what concerns the citizens, art and mythical creatures.
Unfortunately, it is taken for granted that this short movie can only reflect the situation in China and particularly the situation Ai Weiwei was in for a long time. Many viewers will therefore get stuck in this perspective and lose their possibilities to discover what is fundamental to every human being regardless of the political system.
And furthermore, what is it that we, in the West, are not able to talk freely about? For example there is no possibility to make any distinct definition of the concept normal, and yet this construction is the base for countless of rules and political arguments. What is this normal and why is this non defined concept a base for almost everything? These questions are answered with nothing but silence.
Video from the Kickstarter campain for the movie
A Dirty Pun Tweaks China’s Online Censors, Beijing — Since its first unheralded appearance in January on a Chinese Web page, the grass-mud horse has become nothing less than a phenomenon, Michael Wines, March 2009, New York Times
Watch Ai Weiwei starring in a short sci-fi dystopia film, The Chinese artist is the main attraction in ‘The Sand Storm’, but he was close to pulling out of the project altogether, Thomas Gorton, Sep 2014
Ai Weiwei, Twitter
Ai Weiwei, Official website