The Mies van der Rohe Foundation invited Ai Weiwei in 2008 to propose an intervention in the Pavilion. In his own words, he approached the Pavilion as a ready-made, through the activities it had experienced and the way it had been seen: “The building is in fact not still; my intervention taps into the metabolism of a living machine. Liquid is being replaced because it is part of the building that has always been replaced […].”
On December 10th 2009, the outdoor large pool’s water was replaced by milk and the smaller one was filled with coffee. Ai Weiwei, together with Chris Dercon and Xavier Costa, maintained a conversation in front of an enthusiast audience. As the current Director of London’s Tate Modern described the work, “we are seeing more and more interesting organic architecture ideas, not ecological or sustainable architecture: instead, organic architecture like that of Diller and Scofidio or Sou Fujimoto. What is happening here in the Pavilion is a good step in a good direction and I can’t wait to see the milk turn into a fantastic Roquefort.”
On December 30th 2009, the pools recovered their water. The attached video, the publication Ai Weiwei. With Milk _find something everybody can use. Intervention in the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion (ISBN 978-84-928610) and a special piece for the Foundation’s collection, became Ai Weiwei’s intervention footprint which we can enjoy today.
On April 3, 2011 Ai’s family reported her missing, while started hanging hand written signs: “Ai Weiwei, male, 53, was assaulted by two men on Sunday at the Beijing airport (… ) Follow disappeared. “On 7 April the government of the PRC stated that Ai was detained in an unspecified location for alleged “economic crimes.”
On June 22, 2011 was released on bail.