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WeiweiCam is a self-surveillance project by artist Ai Weiwei, in China, that went live on April 3, 2012, exactly one year after the artist's detention by Chinese officials at Beijing Airport.[1] At least fifteen surveillance cameras monitor his house in Beijing[2] which, according to Ai, makes it the most-watched spot of the city.[3]


He described his decision to put himself under further surveillance as a symbolic way to increase transparency in the Chinese government.[4] WeiweiCam consisted of four webcams that sent a live 24-hour feed publicly viewable from the website weiweicam.com.[5] 46 hours after the site went live Ai Weiwei was instructed to shut down WeiweiCam by Chinese authorities.[6][7]

Reception and legacy[edit]

During the time weiweicam.com was live it received 5.2 million views.[8]

WeiweiCam was included in "What We Watch", an exhibition on net art and surveillance, at COFAspace Gallery, UNSW College of Fine Arts.[9][10]

Until June 30, 2013, WeiweiCam was seen at the Kunstpalais Erlangen, Germany. In the context of the exhibition "Freedom!" the visitors can contact the artist directly via Twitter.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carol Vogel (April 3, 2012). "Ai Weiwei Takes His Surveillance Worldwide". The New York Times. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  2. ^ "Orwell, Kafka and Ai Weiwei". The Economist. April 13, 2012. Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  3. ^ Branigan, Tania (3 April 2012). "Ai Weiwei installs studio webcams for supporters and security services". The Guardian. UK. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  4. ^ "Ai Weiwei's #WeiweiCam". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  5. ^ "Ai Weiwei makes statement on gov't voyeurism". CBSNews. US. 3 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  6. ^ "Ai's Weiweicam Forced Offline After 46 Hours". China Digital Times. CN. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  7. ^ "Ai Weiwei 'ordered to turn cameras off'". BBC. UK. 4 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  8. ^ Smith, Marian; Baculinao, Eric (5 April 2012). "After 5 million views in 2 days, China orders Ai Weiwei to turn off webcams". MSNBC. US. Archived from the original on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  9. ^ What We Watch: Net Art and Surveillance
  10. ^ What We Watch Exhibition

External links[edit]