this valentine's day we took a trip to Alcatraz to see @Large, an Ai Wei Wei exhibit. Ai Wei Wei is a chinese artist and activist who focuses on freedom of expression and human rights. if you're unfamiliar with his work i'll bet you can recognize one of his contributions. he was a designer and consultant for the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics. you know, the giant birds nest. yeah, that's him. i've never seen Alcatraz used as an arena to showcase art, so when this came up i knew i had to see it. @Large consists of seven different art installations be it visual, sound or mixed media, displayed all over Alcatraz in many of the areas not usually open to the public. you can read the descriptions on the For-Site Foundation page.
the dragon represents personal freedom and other kites around the room represent nations that restrict their citizen's human rights.
made up of Lego pieces, these are the faces of activists who've been imprisoned or exiled for their beliefs.
made to resemble the wing of a bird, this represents freedom in confinement.
an opportunity to write to activist prisoners
porcelain flowers fill the bathtub, sink and toilets of the hospital portion of Alcatraz, offering "comfort" to prisoners.
poems, songs and spoken word from a variety of activists all over the world are heard while sitting in a solitary cell.
Tibetan chants are heard in an area of the hospital meant for observing the mentally ill.