@Large, on Alcatraz
The wifi I'm writing to you on is part of the exhibit. Instagram and Twitter are integral to Ai Weiwei's installations. Under house arrest in Bejing, the only way he'll see this installation is through our hashtags.
These hospital wing sinks, bathtubs, and toilets were measured to the millimeter by Ai's field assistants and the porcelain flowers built to fit by hand in China. The only piece that needed to be altered on site was the flower beneath the soap dish. Two minutes with a dremel sander made a tight fit.
Whispers in the hospital wing surmised the flowers are a new democratic China blossoming from a sewer of trampled rights, or memories from Ai's childhood in Mao's reeducation camps where his father, a dissident poet, was made to clean the latrines every day.
The plump lines and tactile illusion of the glaze make you feel like you could run your hands through the flowers, the way you sink your fingers into a bag of beans.
Almost all other pieces in the show are aural -- voices and readings of prisoners and dissidents -- singing voices from hidden speakers inside impossibly small cells and passageways.
A mysterious 5-ton bird-like sculpture from solar cook stoves hides in the basement --
-- visible only through the view ports of this 2-foot-wide claustrophobe's nightmare of a gun gallery where guards could keep an eye on prisoners' handiwork.
The twitter dragon himself is undeniable.
The now-famous Lego portraits of the world's silenced have an unusual visual effect --
-- they don't resolve at normal viewing distance and look like just a bunch of Legos. The best way to see them is scaled back on your camera-phone. The ironies of which are really exciting.
Keep 'em coming, @aiww -- we need you. @Large #aiweiwei #AiWeiweiAlcatraz #FlowersForFreedom #SanFrancisco #Alcatraz