China’s lack of restriction over copyrighted material can be exploited to help spread outlawed content to a large online audience seeking entertainment. Youku and toudo.com are mainland China’s largest online video providers *, and are fertile soil for planting seeds of democracy in the cracks of copyright violation.
1) Download movies popular in China. Make sure they are in Mandarin, or with Chinese subtitles. If searching on Youku or Tudou, search for the Chinese title of the movie (rather than the English equivalent) and then download the video (Download Helper is a good tool). English Wikipedia entries will often include the Chinese characters of Chinese movies, people and events.
2) Download videos of issues outlawed in mainland China. A good place to find this kind of content in Mandarin is on Taiwanese news websites or on youtube by searching for a topic in Chinese (e.g., 茉莉花革命 = “jasmine revolution”).
3) Edit clips from step #2 into the clip from step #1. Keep the added content short and sporadic enough that they don’t draw too much attention away from the main attraction. I’ve been inserting about 30 seconds of political content for every 30 minutes of entertainment.
4) Upload the finished product to youku.com, toudo.com or others. Remember that all text should be in Chinese. It may be helpful to copy and paste text from existing uploads of the same the movie. Chinese video sites are more likely to remove a video for political content rather than copyright violations, so once the movie is uploaded don’t draw attention to it by linking to it.
Notes on uploading videos: To upload a video, you will need to create an account on the video hosting website. The steps are identical to all other websites (you supply an email, password and captcha code). Google translate is useful for figuring things out. Once logged in, most sites have upload arrows in the upper right-hand corner. You can upload up to 200 mb online and up to 10 gb if you download a site’s uploader application. This process seems to run smoother on Windows machines.
The notorious artist Ai Weiwei has been detained by Chinese authorities with very little known information about his status and wellbeing*. He
has been was detained for 81 days, upsetting many in the art world for the treatment of an expressive artist in a country where outspoken expression is largely oppressed.
We, as artists and art viewers, should not let this happen. Protest the Chinese detention of Ai Weiwei. Boycott! Protest! Block Chinese sites until Ai Weiwei is released by preventing yourself from surfing into Chinese web territories.
Download the China Web Boycott extension for your browser and boycott Chinese websites whenever artists, like Ai Weiwei, are detained without explanation or justification. Be alerted when he is released, as well as when other artists are detained in China, and boycott Chinese web sites only when artists are being held in detention!
And here comes a final highlight! Last year I curated the program for the category Digital Communities at Ars Electronica 2010. The whole thing was called TELE-INTERNET and a mix of talks, workshops, lab, hacker space and performances. We also had a night program at Roter Krebs (which is definately the best party place in Linz!!). Looking back this night was very special and became one of my personal highlights in F.A.T. history !! (…besides the TM fake G-car :) Finally I managed to get it documented! Enjoy!!
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