Artist Ai Weiwei’s @Large installation at Alcatraz
The long anticipated exhibition by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei called @Large opened on September 27 in the bleak prison buildings of the Bay Area’s popular tourist destination, Alcatraz. The exhibition was organized by the FOR-SITE Foundation, in partnership with the National Park Service. One piece, made entirely from Legos (the children’s toy) and entitled Trace, features images of 176 people who as of June were either in prison or exiled due to their political beliefs and affiliations.
We were honored to be included in this important project when the exhibit’s organizers engaged us to create braille programs of the exhibition. The exhibit and these programs are available at the site and are free with the cost of the ferry ride to Alcatraz.
Best known for his Bird’s Nest stadium designed for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Ai Weiwei is a controversial Chinese artist active in sculpture, installation, architecture, curating, photography and film. He has been highly critical of the Chinese government’s human rights record and corruption. He has investigated government cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan Schools Scandal following the collapse of thousands of school buildings in the earthquake of 2008 in Sichuan. Ai Weiwei has been imprisoned in China for alleged tax evasion, and although he is no longer in jail, the Chinese government holds his passport, making it impossible for him to travel internationally.
Because he is unable to leave China, the @Large exhibit, first conceived three years ago, has been put together remotely, with curators and artists following Ai Weiwei’s detailed instructions and plans.
@Large will be on display through April 2015. Reserve your ferry tickets now, as over 5,000 people a day are expected to make the voyage, and tickets sell out far in advance.
The LightHouse has years of experience making braille, large print, tactile and audio features for museums, government and cultural institutions to make their exhibitions accessible to the blind and low vision community. Do you need our experts in advanced blind design to improve the accessibility of your display or workplace? Contact our Access to Information Services Department at 415-694-7349 or AIS@lighthouse-sf.org.