Artist, film-maker, architect, activist, collector – whatever mode Ai Weiwei is in, he is trying to tell us something about the state of the world. This book presents Ai’s work as a commentary on design and what it reveals about our changing values. Confronted by the rapid pace of change in his country, Ai became fascinated by Chinese antiquities. His vast collections of historical artefacts, from Stone Age tools to broken teapot spouts, attest to the way the language of objects speaks across the ages. Is this a classic tale of technical progress, or have we lost crucial qualities with the march of time? Ai invites us to make sense of these objects as he explores the tensions between past and present, hand and machine, precious and worthless, construction and destruction.