Friday, April 17, 2015

Ai Weiwei exhibit on Alcatraz

I was fortunate enough to catch the Ai Weiwei exhibit on Alcatraz last night before it closes for good on April 26th.  The installations are located in several parts on the former prison, including some sections that aren't typically open to the public.

The whole installation is meant to provoke thoughts on the concept of incarceration in general, and more specifically political repression.  This is all about the idea that states can and often do oppress and lock up their own people in order to maintain their grip on power.

Some of the works were audio installations, where you could sit in a small cell and listen to various recordings, some songs relating to imprisonment, or the words of men like Martin Luther King Jr.

Another work showed the likenesses of famous political prisoners rendered on the floor in LEGOS.

It was definitely thought provoking, and generated some interesting conversation.  For instance, was Edward Snowden rightfully represented amongst the rest of these political prisoners?  Opinions on this one vary.  I won't go into that here, but it was quite interesting being out there on The Rock, at night, taking in some art meant to prick at the social conscience.

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