“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”—
George Webbe, You Can’t Go Home Again by Thomas Wolfe
“You can’t go home again” has entered American speech to mean that after you have left your country town or provincial backwater city for a sophisticated metropolis, you can’t return to the narrow confines of your previous way of life, and, more generally, attempts to relive youthful memories will always fail. Susan Matt has suggested that the phrase is sometimes spoken to mean that you can’t return to your place of origin without being deemed a failure. In this regard, the phrase is used as a self-admonition or warning. You can’t go home again ambitious Americans tell themselves. They say it as a warning to stick it out, not to dare to go home and subject themselves to the prospect of being a failure in the eyes of their family and the friends of their youth.
“Ai Weiwei told me recently that he thinks the government’s decision to detain him for 81 days last year and keep him under strict bail conditions ever since is completely related to his effective use of the Internet to communicate his views and exchange ideas with others.
He told me: “If not for my use of the Internet, I would just be an artist trying to put up a canvas in a gallery or a museum, which has almost no influence for the majority of society. It’s only because I acted on the Internet that the pressure comes. It made a lot of people feel scared, because they can never really stop my influence on the netizens.”
That’s why I made my first feature documentary, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” — to record what happens when someone makes the choice to speak openly and provocatively and face down the consequences, as Ai Weiwei and so many other human rights lawyers, writers, activists and young netizens do every day in China. I hope to inspire new discussions about the role of art, social media, underground documentary and creative forms of resistance in our interconnected world.”—
Alison Klayman directed and produced the feature documentary, “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry,” which premieres at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
His ability to communicate does transcend. That’s also a part of going to the social media sphere. It’s recognizing the limitations of the art world. He wants to be recognized in good museums, and to have his art be valued too. But he recognizes that the art world can be a rarefied environment, or something that’s more for an international audience more than for mainland Chinese.
I remember when I was doing Rent and I was too thin, and I was doing that on purpose because I’m dying, I’m a HIV+ drug addict. I remember having to eat raw food and doing all this work to make sure I could stay thin… And I remember everyone asking me when I was doing press for the movie, “what did you do to get so thin? You looked great!” and I’m like, “I looked emaciated.
It’s a form of violence in the way that we look at women and how we expect them to look and be, for… what’s sake? Not health, not survival, not enjoyment of life, but just so that you can look ‘pretty’.
I’m constantly telling girls all the time, “everything’s airbrushed, everything’s retouched, to the point of just that it’s never even asked, and none of us look like that.
“For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are that you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his happiness or unhappiness on major events like a great new job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.”—