an unstoppable force and an immovable object

Debbie Millman knows how to conduct an interview.

Ai Weiwei knows how to navigate interrogation.

Their pairing on a recent episode of Design Matters made for a few golden moments:

Millman: I was wondering if you have memories of the first time that you remember being creative.

WeiWei: I never think I have been creative.

Millman: Really?

WeiWei: It’s true.


Millman: Do you remember the first piece of art you ever created?

WeiWei: Maybe next year, I will do something. But, not now.


Millman: You write about how you believe the best things that happen in our lives and the moments we treasure most are those when we don’t consciously understand ourselves.

Weiwei: Which is true. Like now. I don’t understand why I’m sitting here.

Millman: Are you having any fun at all?

Weiwei: Yeah, it’s nice to be here.


Millman: What would you like to be asked?

Weiwei: I’d like to be asked what I’d like to be asked.

Millman: [to audience] We’re having fun. [to WeiWeii] Do you mind if I quote something from your book?

Weiwei: Whatever.


Millman: You detail how hard it is to measure–are you bored?

Weiwei: No. No, I’m trying to be creative…but of course, anything creative always comes from boredom.


Millman: So, you’re bored.

Weiwei: I’m being creative.

Millman: I see why you’re a good blackjack player.


Millman: Let’s talk about hope.

Weiwei: That’s easy.

Millman: You’ve said the consequences of hope are to show the condition of our heart…

Weiwei: That will end up tragic.

Millman: […] Why is it tragic?

Weiwei: Because being real can be very damaging and can be very tragic in our society.

Millman: Then why even think about hope?

Weiwei: As humans, we constantly make mistakes. Think of hope as one of them.

Millman: You think hope is a mistake?

Weiwei: Most likely. I cannot say every hope is a mistake.

Millman: What are your hopes?

Weiwei: I hope that hope is not a mistake.

Me too, WeiWei. Me too…