AO On Site, New York- 1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei demonstration outside of the Chinese Consulate, Sunday, April 17th 2011

April 18th, 2011

All photos by D. Terna Art Observed.

Yesterday, a crowd congregated outside the Chinese Consulate in New York City, protesting for the detention of artist Ai Weiwei on April 3rd, 2011.  Ai has been missing since, and the international community has expressed concern for his personal safety, as he has not been formally arrested yet and the circumstances surrounding his detention. The protest started at 1 pm EST. It was named “1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei,” and was organized by Anne Pasternak–Creative Time’s President and Artistic Director–with the objective of promoting public awareness on this important issue of political and ideological censorship.

more images and story after the jump…

All photos by D. Terna Art Observed.

The dynamics of this political act simultaneously rendered homage to Ai’s piece “Fairytale,” where he brought a thousand Chinese people to a major art exhibition in Kassel, Germany on 2007. Following the indications on the press release that Creative Time put in circulation last week, the protesters brought chairs, placed them outside of the Chinese Consulate–located at 520 12th Ave–and sat, expressing their indignation on this matter, and requesting Ai’s immediate release.

Among the most prominent attendees were The New York Times’ art critic Roberta Smith and her husband, art critic Jerry Saltz. Saltz was spotted wearing a Rikrit Tiravanija T-shirt, perhaps as commentary on the relevance of public participation in this artistic orchestration of protest and performance, a fundamental element of Relational Aesthetics, the artistic movement to which Tiravanija is associated.

The protest also merged with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Foundation’s petitioning to the Chinese Culture Ministry for Ai Weiwei’s release, aiming to collect at least a million signatures from all over the world. Ai Weiwei is a very well-regarded figure in the international art scene, and his disappearance is an extremely sensitive subject that has caught the attention of many important actors on the international political arena, who have condemned the actions taken against the Chinese artist.

- D. Terna & M. Silva

‘I will never be the same again’.

Petersfield Post (Petersfield, England) January 27, 2010 Those were the stark words of Ross Neville, from Kingsley, who has just returned to his home in the United States from earthquake-stricken Haiti.

In an exclusive interview with the Post via live web-cam from Dallas, Texas, set up by his parents at their home in Sickles Lane, Kingsley, Ross gave a graphic account of the distressing scenes he had to endure after he was flown out from his US company headquarters.

Ross (31), who was asked to help provide hospital supplies to thousands of people injured in the catastrophic earthquake, said after what he saw, “he would never be the same again”. website forest park medical center

Ross, brought up in Kingsley, is vice-president of the property project management company that built Forest Park Medical Center in Dallas.

Following the quake a which measured 7.0 on the Richter scale a he and his boss, Dr Richard Toussaint, immediately gathered together seven surgeons, five anaesthetists and 15 nurses.

They arranged to charter two Gulfstream G-IV jets from donations given by Texan businessmen and flew out with hospital supplies and food provisions to the Haitian capital, Port au Prince two days after the quake struck.

Speaking via the web-cam, Ross told the Post: “When we got there, all I sensed was death. It was everywhere. The smell of death and gangrene was unbearable. It was all around us. It just stank.”

When they landed at Port au Prince airport, Ross and his colleagues took their medical supplies by trucks to the SacrA[c] Coeur Hospital, in Milot, which is about five miles north of the capital.

Although initially commissioned to provide medical supplies to people in need, Ross soon found himself in the thick of the catastrophe.

He said: “I’ve witnessed people dead, but not ‘alive’ to ‘dead’.”

He estimated that the medical team with whom he worked saved around 300 lives of people pulled from the rubble of collapsed buildings.

One of his most poignant experiences was having to tell a 21-year-old man that his leg would have to be amputated.

“I can speak some French,” he said, “and I had to tell this man that his leg would have to go.”

He added: “But the amazing thing is how stoic the people were and how thankful they were to us – as weird as this may sound – as we were telling them we had to chop their legs and arms off, because we were saving their lives and at the time we had no drugs and nothing to ease their pain.”

Ross continued: “I particularly remember travelling to a school, with members of the search and rescue team, which had around 20 to 30 children trapped underneath the building.

“We heard the children calling and managed to pull out two kids alive. this web site forest park medical center

“The rest were dead. So we just moved on.”

Ross said the SacrA[c] Coeur had set up a ‘triage'; people that were critically injured were prioritised, those with broken bones and other injuries came second and the ‘walking wounded’ had to wait their turn to be treated.

He added: “You could tell the smell of gangrene a mile away. It was like being in a living hell. But the medical staff there were amazing.”

Ross and his colleagues spent a total of 54 hours in Haiti doing all they could to help the earthquake victims, during which Ross said they only grabbed around two hours of sleep on a concrete floor in the hospital.

He commented: “In the end, we had nothing else left to give. We were mentally and physically exhausted. The one thing that was worse than anything was to hear a child crying.”

Ross is now back in Dallas, but he said: “I was asked to go back there again I would be right there. We would be really up for it to do whatever we could.”

He said: “The experience has made me realise what a wonderful country I live in. This experience has put everything into perspective.”

And Ross has good reason to look towards the future.

His topaflight American attorney wife Ann is due to deliver their first baby, Winston, on February 12 a whom the couple have already named after the Second World War Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

Ross met Ann when he was working for an IT solutions company in Reading, Berkshire, and was detailed to travel to Texas on a business meeting.

His boss realised he had feelings for Ann, and agreed to a transfer to Dallas, so he could be with her.

His proud mother Sara, speaking to the Post in Kingsley, said: “It was love at first sight for both of them. He just came home and said: “Mum, this is the person I am going to marry.”

Ann and Ross married on a Californian beach with mum Sara, Dad Colin and relatives and friends. Winston will be Sara’s and Colin’s first grandchild a and they can’t wait.

Sara said: “We will wait until after the birth so that Ann, Ross and Winston can settle down a bit and then we will fly out to stay with them for a while.”

Sara added: “Ross has always been a person to get up and do things. He is our only child – Colin and I are so proud of what he has achieved and what he went through to help rescue those poor people in Haiti.”

She added: “We are so looking forward to the birth of our first grandchild and to see Ann and Ross again.”