This past December I visited Alcatraz for the first time. The decaying former prison feels haunted. It echoes with each step. It’s cold, and damp and inhospitable, and the perfect place for Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei’s latest installation: @Large, a multi-piece experience that asks us to look deeply into the themes of imprisonment and freedom.
“The misconception of totalitarianism is that freedom can be imprisoned. This is not the case. When you constrain freedom, freedom will take flight and land on a windowsill.”
— Ai Weiwei
As in The City, Not Long After, Ai Weiwei’s work shows us that freedom is worth fighting for, and that art can be an even more powerful weapon than guns in that fight.