Ai Wei Wei is a dissident Chinese artist who is currently forbidden by the Chinese authorities from leaving the country. He is essentially under house arrest for his criticism of the government, especially about the earthquake in which many schools collapsed killing thousands of children because of shoddy construction. The combination of Ai Wei Wei’s work and Alcatraz, the former prison in the San Francisco bay transforms the space into a theatrical presentation about what it means to be imprisoned especially for “speaking out” and a yearning for personal freedom and freedom of expression. The exhibition will be on Alcatraz until mid April 2015.
This is a short video clip of the cell devoted to Pussy Riot, the feminist punk rock protest band in Russia who were imprisoned for a protest song they sang in a church in Moscow protesting against Vladimir Putin. You see here the cells of Cell Block A that in this exhibit are called “Stay Tuned” as each has poetry, music, or a speech by someone persecuted for their expression.