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Ai Weiwei
via Instagram (@aiww)

Listen to Ai Weiwei’s audio project for earthquake victims

The Chinese artist and activist shouts the names of 5,196 students killed in the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake

The Wenchuan earthquake of 2008 claimed over 69,000 lives. Thousands of school buildings in the Sichuan district collapsed, claiming the lives of 5,169 students – the Chinese government was heavily criticised for the poor quality of its public buildings that led to such a widespread tragedy.

Later that year, Ai Weiwei Studio began the 5.12 Citizens’ Investigation to uncover the names of all the young students killed. Across eight months in 2013, the dissident Chinese activist began his audio project ‘Shouting Out’, and with the help of 14 assistants, they shouted all 5,169 names in a recording lasting one hour 40 minutes. 

Ai shared the audio project on his Soundcloud page yesterday (May 9) – a stark, heartfelt tribute to the thousands of lives lost.

Back in 2013, the artist made his musical debut with heavy metal tune “Dumbass”, a middle finger to the Chinese regime that saw him detained for 81 days in 2011, along with other activists and dissidents. It was the first single from his six-song debut album with musician Zuoxiao Zuzhou The Divine Comedy, dropped on the two-year anniversary of his release from prison.

Listen to the poignant ‘Shouting Out’ below.