Ai Weiwei isn't able to leave Beijing because of his ongoing legal battles with the Chinese government, but the world comes to him. The artist is keeping busy with projects that include a planned heavy-metal album and a new movie.
Ai's debut album will be released in about three weeks, according to a report from Reuters. The album is expected to be titled "Divina Commedia," after the epic poem by the Italian poet Dante. The title is also a pun on the artist's nickname "Ai God." (In China, the word for God is similar to the Chinese for "Divine Comedy.")
Ai told Reuters that the idea for the album came while he was held in secret detention for 81 days in 2011. "All I could sing was Chinese People's Liberation Army songs," Ai said. "After that I thought: When I'm out, I'd like to do something related to music."
Two tracks are devoted to the blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng, according to the report. Another track is titled "Climbing over the Wall," a reference to China's Internet firewall.
Ai is also working on a movie project with the renowned Hong Kong-based cinematographer Christopher Doyle. The project, which was first reported by the site Artinfo, has been shooting in Beijing.
"Once he sees [the footage] he'll either burn everything we ever shot or he'll embrace it," Doyle told the site. The cinematographer has shot numerous films by Wong Kar-Wai.
Ai recently served as a jury member for the International Film Festival Rotterdam in the Netherlands and the Geneva Human Rights Film Festival in Switzerland. Because the artist can't leave Beijing, he participated in the festivals remotely via the Internet.