“Imagination is the key”
Ai was the artistic consultant for design, collaborating with the Swiss firm Herzog and de Meuron, for
the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics, also known as the "Bird's Nest."
Although ignored by the Chinese media, he has voiced his anti-Olympics views. He later distanced
himself from the project, saying, "I've already forgotten about it. I turn down all the demands to have
photographs with it," saying it is part of a "pretend smile" of bad taste.
In August 2007 he also accused those choreographing the Olympic opening ceremony, including
Steven Spielberg and Zhang Yimou, of failing to live up to their responsibility as artists. Ai said "It's
disgusting. I don't like anyone who shamelessly abuses their profession, who makes no moral
judgment." While being asked why he participated in the designing of the Bird's Nest, Ai replied "I did
it because I love design.”