In recent weeks Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has opened shows at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., the Mary Boone Gallery in New York and Galleria Continuna in San Gimignano, Italy. He has guest edited an edition of the New Statesman magazine and spoken to a host of media outlets (including TIME) about his ongoing legal battle with the Chinese government. Which raises a question: what does Ai Weiwei do in his down time?
The answer, it would seem, is a spoof of the PSY hit that features the pudgy, bearded Ai dancing around his Beijing studio with friends and employees. Caonima, a neologism that means “grass mud horse” and sounds like a strong profanity in Mandarin, has been adopted by Chinese internet users as a protest against online censorship. Ai took his first stab at caonima style three years ago with a picture of himself naked except for a strategically placed toy “grass mud horse.” The title, which translated as “Caonima Blocking the Middle,” also sounded like an insult directed at the Communist Party’s central leadership. Caonima Style is less political in tone, except for a few scenes with handcuffs, possibly a reference to his 81 days in detention last year.
He faces $2.4 million back taxes and penalties, which he says is the result of a politically motivated investigation. The police have confiscated his passport, blocking him from leaving the country. Despite the restrictions on his movements, he has continued developing new works and cultivating his a reputation as an activist, artist, documentarian, microblogger and photographer. But dancer? That will take some work.