Sep 27, 2014 - Apr 26, 2015

@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz

FOR-SITE Foundation

“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

Ai Weiwei at the artist's studio in Beijing, February 2014.

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is internationally renowned for work that defies the distinction between art and activism. In this exhibition of new works created specifically for Alcatraz, Ai responded to the island’s layered legacy as a 19th-century military fortress, a notorious federal penitentiary, a site of Native American heritage and protest, and now one of America’s most visited national parks. Revealing new perspectives on Alcatraz, the exhibition raised questions about freedom of expression and human rights that resonated far beyond this particular place.

Ai’s sculpture, sound, and mixed-media installations occupied four locations in the former prison: the New Industries Building; a group of cells in A Block; the Hospital; and the Dining Hall. With the exception of the Dining Hall, these areas were usually restricted to the public, but all were open throughout the run of the exhibition. @Large turned Alcatraz into a space for dialogue about how we define liberty and justice, individual rights and personal responsibility. In artworks that balanced political impact with aesthetic grace, the exhibition directly and imaginatively addressed the situation of people around the world who have been deprived of their freedom for speaking out about their beliefs — people like Ai himself.

A vocal critic of his nation’s government, Ai was secretly detained by Chinese authorities for 81 days in 2011, and only regained possession of his passport on July 22, 2015. As a result, the artist was unable to visit Alcatraz during the planning of this exhibition; he developed the artwork at his studio in Beijing, with the help of the FOR-SITE Foundation. Ai embraced the ironies of creating site-specific art for a place he couldn’t see, and of celebrating free expression while working under severe constraints. Conflict and struggle have only galvanized the artist’s commitment to art as an act of conscience. With this project, he aimed to expand our understanding of “the purpose of art, which is the fight for freedom.”

Alcatraz was the site of @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz from September 27, 2014 to April 26, 2015.

Located 1.5 miles off the coast of San Francisco, Alcatraz Island encompasses a total of 22 acres in the center of San Francisco Bay. The island has served as the site of a military garrison, military prison, federal penitentiary, a Native American occupation, and is now a national park.

In 1775, Spanish explorer Lt. Juan Manuel de Ayala names the island "La Isla de los Alcatraces" (The Island of the Pelicans). With no vegetation or habitation, Alcatraz was little more than a desolate rocky islet occupied by the occasional swarm of birds.

In the early 1850s Alcatraz Island was designated as a military reservation to prevent the passage of hostile vessels through the Golden Gate towards San Francisco.

The site gradually transitioned into use as a military prison incarcerating, among others, secessionists and Southern privateers during the Civil War.

In 1895, 19 members of the Hopi tribe from Arizona were imprisoned on Alcatraz for resisting the policy of forced education of their children and land allotment programs contrary to their Native American beliefs. Later, conscientious objectors refusing to serve in World War I were also jailed on the island. In fact, Alcatraz incarcerated hundreds of non-violent offenders who were imprisoned for expressing and upholding their political convictions or religious beliefs.

From 1909 through 1911, military prisoners on Alcatraz built a new structure on top of the old Citadel foundation, and it was this building that later became famous as "The Rock."

During Prohibition and the Great Depression, the federal government developed Alcatraz as a new type of prison — a maximum-security, minimum-privilege facility specially designed for inmates so problematic that other federal prisons could not successfully detain them.

As America’s first maximum-security civilian penitentiary, daily life on Alcatraz was harsh and prisoners were given only four rights: medical attention, shelter, food and clothing; recreational activities and family visits had to be earned through hard work.

During its 29 years of operation as a federal penitentiary, more than 1,500 convicts were incarcerated here. There were a total of 14 escape attempts by 34 prisoners.

The expense of operating and maintaining such an isolated facility brought about the prison’s closure in 1963. While Alcatraz stood empty and the federal government debated its fate, a group of Native Americans claimed the island as “Indian land” in 1969 and occupied the island to protest federal policies related to American Indians. Frustrated by lack of support and personal tragedies, and confronted by U.S. Marshals, the last of the occupiers left Alcatraz in 1971.

While the occupation was impermanent, its ramifications were not: Native American pride surged and the U.S. government abandoned its attempts to eliminate the Native American reservation system.

Alcatraz opened as a national park in 1973 and currently welcomes more than 1.4 million visitors each year.

The New Industries Building, site of Ai Weiwei's With Wind, Trace, and Refraction.

“You are required to work at whatever you are told to do.”
— USP Alcatraz Regulation 21: Work

In the federal penitentiary on Alcatraz, work was a privilege. One of the rewards for good behavior was a job, and for many inmates during the last two decades of the prison’s existence, that job was in the New Industries Building. Built between 1939 and 1941, this two-story laundry and manufacturing facility was designed to replace the Model Industries Building nearby, which had been the site of several escape attempts.

The New Industries Building, site of Ai Weiwei's With Wind, Trace, and Refraction.

Former prison guard Jim Albright described the New Industries Building as “filled with the assorted sounds of clothes washers and dryers, band saws, grinders, hammers, and sewing machines. . . . The combined scents of laundry detergent, cleaning fluids, and other chemicals once filled the air.”

Workers here did laundry for military bases all over the Bay Area — initially, the entire upper floor was a laundry facility, the largest in San Francisco at the time — and manufactured clothing, gloves, shoes, brushes, and furniture for government use. During World War II, prisoners were also called upon to help the war effort: workers made tens of thousands of cargo nets for the U.S. Navy and repaired the large buoys that secured the submarine net across San Francisco Bay.

The front room of the New Industries Building's upper level, site of Ai Weiwei's With Wind.

The workshops in the New Industries Building started shutting down in October 1962, before the entire prison closed in 1963. Today, visitors to the national park can still see the views that were so tantalizing for the men who worked here, and observe the numerous birds that now use the cliffs outside New Industries as a nesting ground.

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014
Both delicate and fearsome, the traditional Chinese dragon kite embodies a mythical symbol of power. Ai Weiwei unfurls a spectacular contemporary version of this age-old art form inside the New Industries Building. He says that for him, the dragon represents not imperial authority, but personal freedom: “everybody has this power.”

Ai’s studio collaborated with Chinese artisans to produce the handmade kites, reviving a craft that has a diminishing presence in China. By confining the kites inside a building once used for prison labor, the artist suggests powerful contradictions between freedom and restriction, creativity and repression, cultural pride and national shame.

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014
(installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014
(installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

The individual kites that make up the dragon’s body carry quotations from activists who have been imprisoned or exiled, including Nelson Mandela, Edward Snowden, and Ai himself.

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

Scattered around the room are other kites decorated with stylized renderings of birds and flowers. These natural forms allude to a stark human reality: many are icons for nations with records of restricting their citizens’ human rights and civil liberties.

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014
(installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

Scattered around the room are other kites decorated with stylized renderings of birds and flowers. These natural forms allude to a stark human reality: many are icons for nations with records of restricting their citizens’ human rights and civil liberties.

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014
(installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

An @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz Art Guide discusses With Wind with exhibition visitors.

Art Guides oriented and interacted with exhibition visitors, provided information about the artist and the conceptual themes at work in @Large (such as human rights, freedom of expression, and individual responsibility) and their relevance to Alcatraz, answered questions, participated in social media, and monitored locations for security, visitor flow and art maintenance.

With With Wind, Ai also offers a poetic response to the layered nature of Alcatraz as a former penitentiary that is now an important bird habitat and a site of thriving gardens.

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

A member of the @Large installation team hangs part of Ai Weiwei's With Wind inside the New Industries Building on Alcatraz.

A custom-designed tension rigging system was used to suspend the kite in space, preventing potential damage to the historic surfaces of the federally-protected site.

Members of the @Large installation team hang the dragon head from Ai Weiwei's With Wind inside the New Industries Building on Alcatraz.

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014

Alcatraz inmates making cargo nets in the rear room of the New Industries Building's top level, site of Ai Weiwei’s Trace.

Working in “the Industries” offered its own kinds of escape — from boredom and physical inactivity, from social isolation, and even from a full prison term. In exchange for his labor, an inmate could earn a shortened sentence — an average of two days’ “good time” for a month’s work — as well as a little money to send to family or save for the future. In the prison’s early days, the wage was five to 12 cents per hour.

The rear room of the New Industries Building's top level, site of Ai Weiwei’s Trace.

Former inmate Jim Quillen remembered his job in the New Industries brush shop as “the most frustrating and boring, not to mention aggravating, work I have ever done — before, during, or after my release from prison.”

The Alcatraz prison factory produced furniture, ashtrays, lamps, and brushes, as well as rubber mats and cargo nets for U.S. Navy battleships.

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014
While "With Wind" uses natural and mythical imagery to reference the global reality of political detainment, this installation at the rear of the New Industries Building gives that reality a human face — or many individual faces.

The viewer is confronted with a field of colorful images laid out flat across the expanse of the floor: portraits of 176 people from around the world who have been imprisoned or exiled because of their beliefs or affiliations, most of whom were still incarcerated at the time the artwork was made. Ai Weiwei has called them “heroes of our time.”

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

The viewer is confronted with a field of colorful images laid out flat across the expanse of the floor: portraits of 176 people from around the world who have been imprisoned or exiled because of their beliefs or affiliations, most of whom were still incarcerated at the time the artwork was made. Ai Weiwei has called them “heroes of our time.”

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

Trace as viewed from the upper gun gallery.

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

If the sheer number of individuals represented is overwhelming, the impression is compounded by the intricacy of the work’s construction: each image was built by hand from LEGO bricks.

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

If the sheer number of individuals represented is overwhelming, the impression is compounded by the intricacy of the work’s construction: each image was built by hand from LEGO bricks.

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (detail)

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (detail)

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (detail)

Interpretive kiosks provide case information on each individual featured in Trace.

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

The family of Bahraini prisoner of conscience, Ebrahim Sharif, poses with his Trace portrait on the closing day of @Large.

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

Kamelia Sadeghi Dadgar poses at the Trace portrait of her cousin, Iranian prisoner of conscience Faran Hesami.

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

@Large curator Cheryl Haines and FOR-SITE Foundation Program Director Jackie von Treskow conduct a Skype tour of @Large with recently released CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou who was being held on house arrest.

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

Boxes of LEGO bricks for use on Ai Weiwei's Trace. More than 1.2 million individual bricks were used to construct the piece.

More than 80 volunteers gave their time for more than five weeks to help construct Ai Weiwei's Trace.

Some portions of the artwork were assembled in the artist’s studio, while others were fabricated to the artist’s specifications by more than 80 volunteers in San Francisco.

Completed LEGO plates awaiting assembly in Ai Weiwei's Trace.

A member of the @Large installation team assembles part of Ai Weiwei's Trace.

Assembling a multitude of small parts into a vast and complex whole, the work may bring to mind the relationship between the individual and the collective, a central dynamic in any society and a particularly charged one in contemporary China.

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014

Inmates working in the sewing room located on the lower level of the New Industries Building, site of Ai Weiwei’s Refraction.

Although workers had slightly more freedom to move and communicate at work than in the cellhouse, they were still under constant control: unarmed guards patrolled the floor, carrying whistles to signal to armed guards in the gun gallery overhead in case of trouble.

The official employer of workers on Alcatraz was not the penitentiary itself, but Federal Prison Industries, Incorporated, a government corporation launched in 1934 to create “factories with fences” in federal prisons. This corporation still exists today; operating under the name UNICOR, it has expanded to provide not only manual labor for government industry but also business services — such as prisoner-staffed call centers — for private companies.

The New Industries Building lower gun gallery, site of Ai Weiwei's Refraction.

The lower gun gallery allowed armed guards to monitor prisoners at work. Alcatraz inmates made everything from rubber mats to cargo netting to shoes and uniforms in this enormous and now decaying facility.

@Large visitors are limited to viewing Ai Weiwei's Refraction from this confined space.

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014
Visitors can peer through cracked and rusted windows of the lower gun gallery to glimpse an enormous metal wing on the floor below. Its design is based on close observation of the structure of real birds’ wings, but in place of feathers, the artwork bristled with reflective panels originally used on solar cookers in Tibet, a region that has long struggled under Chinese rule.

Like With Wind on the floor above, this piece uses imagery of flight to evoke the tension between freedom — be it physical, political, or creative — and confinement.

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

The sculpture’s enormous bulk (it weighs more than five tons) and constrained position on the lower floor kept it earthbound, but one might imagine its array of solar panels silently mustering energy, preparing for takeoff.

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

By requiring visitors to view the work from the gun gallery, the installation implicates them in a complex structure of power and control. Following in the footsteps of prison guards, visitors are placed in a position of authority, and yet the narrowness of the spaces creates a visceral feeling of physical restriction.

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

When the prison closed in 1963, the lack of human disturbance and land predators, as well as island topography and location, led to the return of the birds. Today, this National Historic Landmark is a haven for more than 5,000 nesting birds.

Sensitive bird nesting sites are even tucked within the rubble and concrete pipes left over from the era when correctional officers and their families lived on-island. A diversity of wildlife finds their niche within these man-made habitats.

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz)

Members of the @Large installation team install Ai Weiwei's Refraction in the New Industries Building on Alcatraz.

A member of the @Large installation team installs Ai Weiwei's Refraction in the New Industries Building on Alcatraz.

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014

Main Cellhouse A Block, site of Ai Weiwei's Stay Tuned.

The massive concrete Alcatraz Cellhouse, completed in 1912, was originally designed to house military prisoners. When the prison became a federal penitentiary in 1934, the majority of the cellblocks were renovated with tool-proof steel bars, remotely operated doors, and other maximum-security technologies. A Block, however, was not remodeled; more than any other part of the cellhouse, it retains the traces of Alcatraz’s military past.

With its flat “strap iron” bars and keyed doors, A Block and the rest of the old military prison may have been less secure than the modern federal penitentiary, but the original “Disciplinary Barracks” was a no less forbidding environment. Six cells on the top tier of A Block were used for solitary confinement; outfitted with solid doors punctured by a few ventilation holes, they were precursors to the infamous isolation cells of D Block. Down below, steps led from the ground floor of A Block to the basement of the Citadel, the remnants of the original fort built in the 1850s. In the military prison period and in the early years of the federal penitentiary, parts of the basement were used for isolation; these dank, dark spaces earned the nickname “the Dungeon.”

Main Cellhouse A Block: site of Ai Weiwei's Stay Tuned.

Among the inmates who became all too familiar with the military prison’s lower depths was Philip Grosser, an anarchist and World War I conscientious objector, one of a number of men who were imprisoned on Alcatraz for refusing to serve in the military on political or religious grounds. Grosser spent 18 months on Alcatraz, including long stretches in solitary confinement, and later wrote a scathing report on prison conditions.

He vividly described his experiences in "the Dungeon" and in the vestibule doors, 12-by-23-inch cages attached to the regular cell doors. Forced to stand in one of these “coffin cages” for eight hours a day, Grosser called the device a “veritable iron straight jacket.” The vestibule doors were removed after 1920, but the hinges that are believed to have held them are still attached to some cell doors in A Block.

After Alcatraz became a federal prison, A Block was rarely used to confine inmates, except on rare occasions when prisoners needed to be completely separated from the general population; instead, the space was used for offices and storage. At least some of the federal prisoners who saw the inside of A Block came there voluntarily: cells equipped with typewriters and legal reference books gave prisoners a place to work on their legal cases or type correspondence, keeping some connection to life on the outside.

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014
This sound installation occupies a series of twelve cells in A Block. Inside each cell, visitors are invited to sit and listen to spoken words, poetry, and music by people who have been detained for the creative expression of their beliefs, as well as works made under conditions of incarceration.

Each cell features a different recording. The diverse selection included the Tibetan singer Lolo, who has called for his people’s independence from China; the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot, opponents of Vladimir Putin’s government; and the Robben Island Singers, activists imprisoned during South Africa’s apartheid era.

The celebrated Nigerian musician Fela wrote this song following the Soweto Uprising of 1976, in which hundreds of South African students were killed. In decrying authoritarianism, the song also refers to the harassment and brutality that Fela and his family experienced at the hands of the Nigerian government. Fela was arrested on charges of currency smuggling in 1984 and served 20 months in prison.

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation view, A Block, Alcatraz)

Fela Kuti, "Sorrow Tears and Blood," 1977

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation view, A Block, Alcatraz)

Recordings of the individual featured in each cell are projected from behind wall grates.

The Czech composer Haas, who was Jewish, was sent to the Terezín (Theresienstadt) concentration camp in 1941; in 1944 he was transported to Auschwitz and killed. While he was imprisoned he wrote at least eight compositions, including this piece for string orchestra. First performed by prisoners in Terezín, it is probably Haas’s best-known work today.

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation view, A Block, Alcatraz)

Pavel Haas, “Study for String Orchestra (Terezín 1943),” 1943

Ai Weiwei has described the texture of the individual voice as a particularly potent vehicle for human connection and communication.

Shamlu was a Persian poet, writer, and journalist and an important member of the Iranian intellectual opposition under the Shah. Several of his works were banned or confiscated in the 1950s, and in 1954 he was arrested and jailed for 14 months. A strong opponent of repression and censorship, he received the Freedom of Expression Award from Human Rights Watch in 1991.

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation view, A Block, Alcatraz)

Ahmad Shamlu, "In This Dead End Street," 1979

Heard inside a cell, speech and singing create a powerful contrast to the isolation and enforced silence of imprisonment.

Jara was a Chilean singer, songwriter, guitarist, and theater director. He was also a member of the Communist Party of Chile and a prominent supporter of Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government. Shortly after the 1973 Chilean military coup, he was arrested, tortured, and ultimately killed. His recordings were banned for many years in Chile. “Manifiesto” was among the last songs Jara recorded.

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation detail, A Block, Alcatraz)

Victor Jara, "Manifiesto," 1973

In 2012 the Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot performed this song at a cathedral in Moscow in protest against Orthodox Church leaders’ support for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Three members of the group, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were convicted of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and sentenced to two years in prison; Samutsevich’s sentence was suspended.

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation view, A Block, Alcatraz)

Pussy Riot, "Punk Prayer - Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!," 2012

Jeremiah Moore of Moment Audio Group and producer Starr Sutherland discuss sound tests with @Large curator Cheryl Haines during installation of Ai Weiwei's Stay Tuned inside A Block on Alcatraz.

Because of Ai's travel restrictions during the installation of @Large, 3-D schematic drawings rendered by Moment Audio Group were shared with the artist to delineate the spaces found in A Block for use in Ai's Stay Tuned.

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014

The Alcatraz Hospital, site of Ai Weiwei's Illumination and Blossom.

“You are entitled to food, clothing, shelter and medical attention. Anything else that you get is a privilege.” — USP Alcatraz Regulation 5: Privileges

Medical care was one of only four basic rights granted to prisoners at the Alcatraz penitentiary. Inmates exercised their right at sick call: every day after lunch, prisoners could line up to ask to be taken to the Hospital upstairs from the Dining Hall. One former officer claimed that as many as 10 percent of inmates would appear in the sick line on a given day, either suffering from genuine illness or hoping for an escape from regular life in the cellblock.

Entrance to an Alcatraz Hospital psychiatric observation room, site of Ai Weiwei's Illumination.

Set apart from the regular ward cells are two psychiatric observation rooms, called “bug rooms” or “bug cages” by inmates. One of the most haunting spaces in the prison, this pair of tiled chambers in the Hospital was once used for the isolation and observation of mentally ill inmates.

The number of prisoners who became mentally ill during their time on Alcatraz is hard to pin down. The official estimate of Warden James A. Johnston was two percent, but former inmate Jim Quillen said it happened “a lot more than that — all the time.” Many aspects of life on Alcatraz could drive inmates over the edge: the monotony, the lack of privacy, the threat of violence, even the knowledge that San Francisco and freedom were so close but impossible to reach. However, some prisoners also tried to fake insanity, hoping for a chance to be transferred to another institution — anywhere other than Alcatraz.

Ai Weiwei, Illumination, 2014
The sound of Tibetan and Native American chanting resonates in this austere and moving installation. Drawing pointed parallels between China and the United States, the work pays homage to people who have resisted cultural and political repression — whether Tibetan monks, Hopi prisoners, or the Indians of All Tribes who occupied Alcatraz from 1969 to 1971.

The placement of the chants in the psychiatric observation rooms suggest an unexpected analogy: like subjugated peoples, those who have been classified as mentally ill have often been dismissed, deprived of rights, confined, and observed.

Under the severe circumstances of incarceration, chanting could serve as a source of emotional comfort, spiritual strength, and cultural identity.

Ai Weiwei, Illumination, 2014 (installation view, psychiatric observation room, Hospital, Alcatraz)

This Tibetan chant is a Buddhist ceremony for the goddess Palden Lhamo, protectress of Tibet; it was recorded at the Namgyal Monastery in Dharamsala, India.

Ai Weiwei, Illumination, 2014 (installation view, psychiatric observation room, Hospital, Alcatraz)

Namgyal Monks - Buddhist Ceremony for the Goddess Palden Lhamo

Monks playing traditional music at Namgyal Monastery in Dharamshala, India. Namgyal Monastery was founded by the 3rd Dalai Lama in the late sixteenth century and has served the Dalai Lamas since that time.

This Hopi music comes from a traditional Eagle Dance invoking the bird’s healing powers. Hopi men were among the first prisoners of conscience on Alcatraz, held for refusing to send their children to government boarding schools in the late 19th century.

Ai Weiwei, Illumination, 2014 (installation view, psychiatric observation room, Hospital, Alcatraz)

Hopi Eagle Dance

In January 1895, 19 Hopi men from Orayvi (one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements within the United States; now located on the Hopi Reservation in Arizona) were sent to Alcatraz and subsequently incarcerated for nearly ten months.

The story of the Alcatraz prisoners is one episode in an ongoing struggle between the Hopi people and the United States government. The late 19th century witnessed increased attacks on Hopi sovereignty and culture as the United States government acted to "Americanize" the Hopi people. Imprisonment became the government's principal means of intimidation and punishment.

The U.S. government wanted to "Americanize" the Hopi by indoctrinating them with Anglo-American ideals and extinguishing Hopi culture. The education of children was the centerpiece of a U.S. government policy of Manifest Destiny, and it was fiercely resisted by Hopi people.

Decades after the Hopi incarceration, a group called Indians of All Tribes, Inc., occupied Alcatraz Island from November 1969 to June 1971. This group, made up of Native Americans relocated to the Bay Area, was protesting federal laws that took away their aboriginal land and aimed to destroy Native American cultures.

The Alcatraz Occupation is recognized today as one of the most important events in contemporary Native American history. It was the first intertribal protest action to focus the nation’s attention on the situation of native peoples in the United States. The island occupation ignited a protest movement which culminated with the occupation of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation of the Oglala Sioux in South Dakota in 1973.

Because of the attention brought to the plight of Native American communities, as a result of the occupation, federal laws were created which demonstrated new respect for aboriginal land rights and for the freedom of Native Americans to maintain their traditional cultures.

Each year, members of all tribes return to Alcatraz on Columbus Day and Thanksgiving to hold a Sunrise Ceremony for Indigenous Peoples and commemorate the longest Native American occupation in U.S. history.

Producer Starr Sutherland and Jeremiah Moore of Moment Audio Group install Ai Weiwei's Illumination inside the Alcatraz Hospital.

Jeremiah Moore of Moment Audio Group and producer Starr Sutherland conduct a sound test with @Large curator Cheryl Haines inside a psychiatric observation room in the Alcatraz Hospital, site of Ai Weiwei's Illumination.

Ai Weiwei, Illumination, 2014

The Alcatraz Hospital, site of Ai Weiwei's Blossom.

A fully functioning hospital existed on Alcatraz throughout the military and federal prison years. Instead of sending sick or injured inmates to San Francisco where they might have a chance to escape, Alcatraz administrators brought the doctors to the prisoners.

A Bureau of Prisons bulletin boasted: “The Alcatraz Hospital, adjacent to the main cell house, is equipped with modern X-ray and physical therapy apparatus, operating theater, laboratories, and dental unit, and contains wards and individual rooms for the treatment and convalescence of inmate patients. It has been certified by the American College of Surgeons and compares favorably with the up-to-date hospitals and clinics in the free community.”

The Hospital was staffed by a general practitioner who lived on the island, while specialists, surgeons, and psychiatrists from the San Francisco Public Health Service and the Presidio military base visited when needed.

Female nurses or assistants sometimes accompanied the surgeons — the only time women were ever allowed inside the cellhouse. A doctor who worked on Alcatraz described the inmates falling totally silent — whether out of respect or sheer astonishment — at the sight of a female anesthetist walking the length of the cellhouse to the Hospital.

Each ward cell in the Hospital could hold as many as six men, but inmates were usually kept separate for safety reasons. Among the prisoners who spent time in these cells were Al Capone, confined to the Hospital in 1938 after being diagnosed with syphilis; and Robert “Birdman” Stroud, who lived in the infirmary for 11 years. A hypochondriac as well as an extremely disruptive inmate who had incited a riot in D Block, Stroud was permanently moved to the Hospital in 1948 to keep him out of the general population.

Ai Weiwei, Blossom, 2014
In this work, Ai Weiwei quietly transforms the utilitarian fixtures in several Hospital ward cells and medical offices into delicate porcelain bouquets. The artist designed intricately detailed encrustations of ceramic flowers filling the sinks, toilets, and tubs that were once used by hospitalized prisoners.

Ai Weiwei, Blossom, 2014 (installation detail, Hospital, Alcatraz)

Like With Wind in the New Industries Building, Blossom draws on and alters natural imagery as well as traditional Chinese arts. Rather than referring to national iconography, however, the flowers here carry other associations. The work could be seen as symbolically offering comfort to the imprisoned, as one would send a bouquet to a hospitalized patient.

Ai Weiwei, Blossom, 2014 (installation detail, Hospital, Alcatraz)

Ai Weiwei, Blossom, 2014 (installation detail, Hospital, Alcatraz)

The profusion of flowers rendered in a cool and brittle material could also be an ironic reference to China’s famous Hundred Flowers Campaign of 1956, a brief period of government tolerance for free expression that was immediately followed by a severe crackdown against dissent.

Ai Weiwei, Blossom, 2014 (installation detail, Hospital, Alcatraz)

Many of the installations presented in @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz draw inspiration from the island’s natural landscapes and wildlife.

As early as 1865, the military planted Victorian-style gardens adjacent to the Citadel. In the 1920s, the military initiated an island-wide beautification project, and prisoners planted hundreds of trees and shrubs and many pounds of seeds.

In 1933, when the federal Bureau of Prisons took control of Alcatraz, the warden allowed prisoners to garden, and with the advice of prominent California horticulturists, helped to direct the transformation of the island’s western slopes into a series of gardens.

In 1941, prisoner Elliott Michener began a nine-year career as an inmate gardener—he built a toolshed and a greenhouse, received permission to order seeds and bulbs, and credited this experience with providing him a “lasting interest in creativity.”

A Qing-dynasty kiln in Jingdezhen.

While Ai Weiwei’s Blossom was conceived and designed in his Beijing studio, the intricate sculptures themselves were made by highly skilled craftspeople in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen.

Porcelain-making in China is a 2000-year tradition. The medium is being championed and authentically practiced by a new generation of modern ceramicists in this ancient city.

Members of the @Large installation team unpack a section from Ai Weiwei's Blossom in the Alcatraz Hospital.

Members of the @Large installation team installing Ai Weiwei's Blossom.

3-D models of each individual fixture were rendered and shared with the artist, allowing for a virtually imperceptible and seamless fit of the delicate porcelain sculptures.

Ai Weiwei, Blossom, 2014

The Dining Hall, site of Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly.

“You may converse in normal tones with persons near you. Boisterous conduct will not be tolerated in the dining room.”
— USP Alcatraz Regulation 33: Dining Room Rules

Officers and inmates ate the same food, which was prepared by inmates under supervision. The food was considered some of the best in the prison system, and Alcatraz officials claimed that the food budget per inmate was larger here than at any other penitentiary. Inmates were allowed to serve themselves as much food as they wanted within a specified limit; keeping their appetites satisfied gave them one less reason to revolt. But even in this, there was a catch. “Take all that you wish . . . but you must eat all that you take” was the policy, and inmates could be disciplined for failing to finish their meals.

The Dining Hall, site of Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly.

In the early years of the Alcatraz penitentiary, a strict rule of silence was observed throughout the cellhouse. Any unnecessary conversation was forbidden, and a low murmur of “Pass the salt” to someone down the table in the Dining Hall might be the only words one prisoner exchanged with another in the course of a day. This rule was relaxed in 1937, and 20-minute meals in the Dining Hall gave inmates more chances to talk—whether for strictly social reasons or for less innocent ones, like hatching plans to escape.

Ai Weiwei, Yours Truly, 2014
While several other works in the exhibition expand visitors’ awareness of prisoners of conscience around the world, this installation in the Dining Hall offers visitors the opportunity to correspond directly and personally with individual prisoners. Visitors are invited to write postcards addressed to some of the detainees represented in "Trace," the series of portraits in the New Industries Building.

Ai Weiwei, Yours Truly, 2014 (installation view, Dining Hall, Alcatraz)

The postcards are adorned with images of birds and plants from the nations where the prisoners are held.

Ai Weiwei, Yours Truly, 2014 (installation detail, Dining Hall, Alcatraz)

An @Large visitor reads individual case information and writes a postcard to a prisoner of conscience at Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly.

Ai Weiwei, Yours Truly, 2014 (installation detail, Dining Hall, Alcatraz)

Ai Weiwei has spoken of the deep feeling of isolation that afflicts incarcerated people. He says that political prisoners often fear that they — and the causes they fought for — have been forgotten by the outside world. This work is a response to those concerns, reminding detainees that they are remembered — and reminding exhibition visitors of the detainees’ individuality and humanity.

Ai Weiwei, Yours Truly, 2014 (installation detail, Dining Hall, Alcatraz)

At Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly, a visitor selects a pre-addressed postcard to a prisoner of conscience.

An @Large visitor writes a postcard to a prisoner of conscience at Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly in the Alcatraz Dining Hall.

An @Large visitor writes a postcard to a prisoner of conscience at Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly in the Alcatraz Dining Hall.

In the spirit of free expression, visitors may write any message they wish. Yours Truly brings home ideas at the heart of the exhibition: the responsibilities that we all bear as members of a community, and the importance of communication as both a personal expression and a force for social change.

Ai Weiwei, Yours Truly, 2014 (installation detail, Dining Hall, Alcatraz)

Each week, Yours Truly postcards written by visitors to @Large were collected, counted, sorted and sent to prisoners of conscience around the world. In total, @Large visitors wrote more than 92,000 postcards to individuals currently incarcerated for the peaceful expression of their beliefs.

The Urban Wood Furnishings team, based in Round Lake, Illinois, fabricated the custom tables and cabinets for Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly according to the artist's design.

A postcard scan of an @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz visitor message to Chelsea Manning in Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly.

A postcard scan of an @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz visitor message to Irom Sharmila in Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly.

A postcard scan of an @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz visitor message to Eskinder Nega in Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly.

A postcard scan of an @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz visitor message to Reeyot Alemu in Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly.

A postcard scan of an @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz visitor message to Vladimir Kozlov in Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly.

A postcard scan of an @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz visitor message to Walid Yunus Ahmad in Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly.

A postcard scan of an @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz visitor message to Filep Karma in Ai Weiwei's Yours Truly.

The handwritten letter from Indian prisoner of conscience Irom Sharmila Chanu detailing the receipt of thousands of Yours Truly postcards written by visitors to @Large.

In total, Irom was sent more than 8,300 individual postcards—more than any other individual featured in the piece.

Here is an excerpt (text edited for clarity): “Believe that a dissident artist from China whose name is Ai Weiwei has already influenced the whole continents of the world about me and my cause in a couple of months with his genuine creative art by installing a great exhibition based on 175 prisoners of conscience from across the world, with the aim of spreading awareness of our forced imprisonment to repress of voices of truth throughout world. I read through all the post card letters, around 2500 in numbers. I was so pleased on receiving such a great number of letters at a time. And it broadened my view toward my struggle. I felt indebted to all those wellwishers from across the world. I felt the impact of their daily prayers at their respective homes for my freedom with victory."

Ai Weiwei, Yours Truly, 2014

@Large by the Numbers.

@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz has attracted a robust and deeply engaged audience and received many accolades. Here are some of the highlights:

During the exhibition’s run from September 27 through April 26, Alcatraz saw 896,657 visitors. Attendance from the region rose by 71% and visits by San Francisco residents increased 120% over the previous year, achieving important project goals of drawing local audiences and building new stewardship for the historic island.

Underserved schools and community organizations across the Bay Area received more than 7,316 tickets to @Large thanks to the @ccess Alcatraz program, organized by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the Crissy Field Center in coordination with FOR-SITE.

As of May 1, 2015, FOR-SITE, in collaboration with Amnesty International, sent over 92,000 postcards to prisoners of conscience in more than 20 countries as part of the interactive installation Yours Truly, with the highest percentages going to those incarcerated in the United States (10.3%), Vietnam (9.1%), and India (9%).

@Large was honored as an outstanding public art project by the 2015 Americans for the Arts’ Public Art Network Year in Review, nominated for “Best Presentation in an Alternative Venue” by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA-USA), and included in “Best of 2014” lists by the Huffington Post, Architectural Digest, Artsy, and Kickstarter.

The success of @Large testifies to the power of Ai Weiwei’s work to inspire dialogue about human rights and freedom of expression, and the project has continued to create extraordinary connections. On the exhibition’s closing day, FOR-SITE was honored to be joined by the family of Bahraini prisoner of conscience Ebrahim Sharif Al Sayed, and we were thrilled to offer John Kiriakou, under house arrest in Virginia at that time, a virtual tour of @Large via Skype. FOR-SITE is truly humbled by the strength that these individuals and so many others have shown in fighting for the peaceful expression of their beliefs.

On a final note, FOR-SITE is delighted to relay that our collaborators at Amnesty International recognized Ai Weiwei with the Ambassador of Conscience Award, the organization’s top honor, recognizing those who have shown exceptional leadership in the fight for human rights. Congratulations to Ai Weiwei!

Take a look inside @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz and hear from the people behind this unprecedented exhibition exploring human rights and freedom of expression.

@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz
Credits: Story

FOR-SITE FOUNDATION PROJECT TEAM
Cheryl Haines - Executive Director and Exhibition Curator
Marnie Burke de Guzman - Special Projects Director
Jackie von Treskow - Program Director
Alison Konecki - Development and Outreach Associate
Tyler Reed - Content Manager and Curatorial Researcher
Jennifer Burke/Industry - Visual Design
Juliet Clark - Writer and Editor
Jan Stürmann - Video Production
Ari Salomon - Web Developer


FOR-SITE thanks the many donors who showed tremendous generosity in bringing @Large to fruition, as well as our visionary project partners the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. We also extend our gratitude to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. FOR-SITE is honored to be working in a community that so warmly embraces our work and makes possible our efforts to support the creation, understanding, and presentation of art about place.

To everyone who visited @Large, donated time or money, or followed the exhibition online, thank you so much for being a part of this remarkable project and helping to make @Large a success in so many ways!

FOR-SITE FOUNDATION
Established in 2003, the FOR-SITE Foundation is dedicated to the creation, understanding, and presentation of art about place. Our exhibitions and commissions, artist residencies, and education programs are based in the belief that art can inspire fresh thinking and important dialogue about our natural and cultural environment.

FOR-SITE has broken new ground and provided a model for engaging audiences through artistic collaborations on national park land. In the unprecedented project @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz, the internationally renowned Chinese artist and activist created a series of new works for Alcatraz Island, the notorious prison turned national park. Raising urgent questions about freedom of expression and human rights, the exhibition revealed new perspectives on the island for nearly 900,000 visitors during its run in 2014–15. The 2012 exhibition International Orange, enjoyed by more than 145,000 visitors, celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge with site-specific installations at historic Fort Point. FOR-SITE projects in the Presidio of San Francisco include Andy Goldsworthy’s installations Spire, Wood Line, and Tree Fall and the acclaimed Presidio Habitats exhibition, for which artists, designers, and architects created animal habitats in the park.

The foundation’s residency program offers artists space and funding for reflection, production, and exhibition. Residencies take place at a 50-acre site on the edge of the South Yuba River gorge, just outside the historic gold-mining town of Nevada City, California. FOR-SITE partners with museums and other institutions to show the work created in these residencies. Past artists in residence include Mark Dion, Chris Drury, Richard Long, Cornelia Parker, and Shi Guorui; museum partners include the de Young Museum, Oakland Museum of California, Nevada Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

FOR-SITE’s education program enriches the learning experience of graduate-level art students by offering educators the space and resources to create courses focused on their interests. The foundation provides access to the Nevada City residency site and funding that covers project expenses. Participants have included such distinguished faculty as landscape architect Walter Hood (University of California, Berkeley), artist Donald Fortescue (California College of the Arts), and designer Amy Franceschini (San Francisco Art Institute).

The FOR-SITE Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization. It is governed by a five-person board of directors and supported by contributions from individuals and foundations.

PARTNERS
National Park Service
The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.


Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
The mission of the Parks Conservancy is to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the park visitor experience, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future.

We are a community-supported nonprofit organization transforming places—and people—through conservation and improvement of these remarkable national parks.

We are dedicated to protecting these PARKS, making them relevant and accessible FOR ALL communities, and instilling a sense of stewardship in this and future generations to ensure their vitality FOREVER.

Join us as we work toward our vision of PARKS FOR ALL FOREVER


Amnesty International
Amnesty International is a global movement of people fighting injustice and promoting human rights.

We work to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. Currently the world’s largest grassroots human rights organization, we investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world. We received the Nobel Peace Prize for our life-saving work.

Our vision is of a world in which every person – regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity – enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and other internationally recognized human rights standards. The UDHR states that the "the recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights" of all people is "the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world."


Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization made up of roughly 400 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Established in 1978, Human Rights Watch is known for its accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting, effective use of media, and targeted advocacy, often in partnership with local human rights groups. Each year, Human Rights Watch publishes more than 100 reports and briefings on human rights conditions in some 90 countries, generating extensive coverage in local and international media. With the leverage this brings, Human Rights Watch meets with governments, the United Nations, regional groups like the African Union and the European Union, financial institutions, and corporations to press for changes in policy and practice that promote human rights and justice around the world.


2014-2015 FOR-SITE SUPPORTERS:
Benefactors
Roger Evans and Aey Phanachet

Patrons
The Fisher Family

Sponsors
Brown Pelican Group
Drusie and Jim Davis
Friends on behalf of SFMOMA
Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation
Mimi and Peter Haas Fund
Wendy and Eric Schmidt
VIA Art

Donors
Anonymous
Francis and Marie-Catherine Cuigniez
Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation
Amy Rao
WiLine
Marsha Garces Williams

Contributors
Harry Bookey and Pam Bass-Bookey
Anthony O. Brown and Gay Schreiber
Susie Tompkins Buell and Mark Buell
Steve Corkin and Dan Maddalena
Penny and Jim Coulter
Fotene Demoulas and Tom Cotè
Jack Dorsey
Jean and Jim Douglas
Sheila Duignan and Mike Wilkins
Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein
Ed Frank and Sarah Ratchye
Tad Freese
Jonathan Gans and Abigail Turin
Graue Family Foundation
Kathryn Hall and Tom Knutsen
Craig Hartman and Jan O’Brien
Don Joint and Brice Brown
Michael and Roberta Joseph
Pam and Dick Kramlich
Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue
Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman
Meyer Sound
Kim Anstatt Morton and Ian Morton
Sonja Hoel Perkins
Ahna Rao
Stephen R. and Gail M. Rineberg
Paul Sack
Chara Schreyer and Gordon Freund
Norah and Norman Stone
Roselyne C. Swig
Sara and Evan Williams
Carlie Wilmans
Robin Wright and Ian Reeves

Advocates
Anonymous
John Atwater and Diana Nelson
Janice and Matthew Barger
Nancy and Joachim Bechtle
Gay-Lynn and Robert Blanding
Frances F. Bowes
Shawn and Brook Byers
Carolyn and Preston Butcher
Emily Carroll
Comer Foundation Fund
Mary Fernando Conrad and Tony Conrad
Carla and David Crane
Courtney and Seth Dallaire
Troy and Leslie Daniels
Stuart Davidson and Wendy Webster
Carl Doumani
Douglas Durkin
Dana and Bob Emery
Susan and Stuart Engs
Robert S. Fisher
Jonathan Gans and Abigail Turin
Stanlee Gatti
John and Marcia Goldman
Matthew and Jason Goldman
Dedrea and Paul Gray
Linda and Jon Gruber
Deborah and Bill Harlan
Brenda and George Jewett
Beverly and Peter Lipman
Nancy Livingston and Fred Levin
Tony and Celeste Meier
Steven L. Merrill
Eileen and Peter Michael
Meridee Moore and Kevin King
Cristina and Robert Morris
Diane Morris
Tim O’Shea and Margaret Arent
Julie and Will Parish
Gina and Dave Pell
Deborah and Andy Rappaport
Rotasa Foundation
San Francisco Grants for the Arts
Greg Sullivan
Mary and Steve Swig
Darian and Rick Swig
Susan Swig
Catherine and Ned Topham
Thea Westreich Wagner
Minott and Ashley Wessinger
Mike and Bobbie Wilsey
Windgate Charitable Foundation
Annie and Montgomery Woods
Sarah and David Woodward


PHOTO CREDITS
Alcatraz; photo: Ben Fash; courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz official exhibition logo; image: FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei at the artist's studio in Beijing, February 2014; photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

The making of @Large; video: FOR-SITE Foundation

Alcatraz overhead; photo: United States Geological Survey

New Industries Building, Alcatraz (exterior view); photo: Golden Gate National Recreation Area, GOGA 40046-090

New Industries Building, Alcatraz (exterior view); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Interior of the front room of the New Industries Building, site of Ai Weiwei’s With Wind; photo: Jan Stürmann

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Robert Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Robert Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Robert Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Anna Jablonski, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, With Wind, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Nav Khalsa, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

With Wind installation; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

With Wind installation; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Cargo net assembly; photo: National Park Service

Interior of the rear room of the New Industries Building, site of Ai Weiwei’s Trace; photo: Ben Fash, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 ((Installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Robert Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz).
Photo: Robert Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz).
Photo: Nina Dietzel

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Robert Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Robert Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (detail); photo: Kyle Smith, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (detail); photo: Kyle Smith, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (detail); photo: Kyle Smith, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Tyler Reed, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Susannah Magers, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Trace, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

LEGO boxes; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Trace volunteers; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Trace volunteer; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

LEGO Plates; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Trace install; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Inmates in the sewing work room; photo: National Park Service, GOGA 36628

Lower gun gallery, New Industries Building, Alcatraz (interior view); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014 (Installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014 (installation view, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Robert Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Refraction, 2014 (installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz); photo: Robert Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Refraction install; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Refraction install; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

A Block, Alcatraz; photo: Golden Gate National Recreation Area/Park Archives and Records Center.

A Block, Main Cellhouse, Alcatraz (interior view); photo: Robert Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation view, A Block, Alcatraz); photo: Robert Herrick, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation view, A Block, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation view, A Block, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation view, A Block, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation view, A Block, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation detail, A Block, Alcatraz); photo: Tyler Reed, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Stay Tuned, 2014 (installation view, A Block, Alcatraz); photo: Renee Villasenor, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Stay Tuned installation; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Stay Tuned schematic; image: Moment Audio Group

Alcatraz Hospital; photo: GOGA 19200 Betty Waller Alcatraz Collection.

Psychiatric observation room entrance, Hospital, Alcatraz; photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Psychiatric observation room entrance, Hospital, Alcatraz; photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Illumination, 2014 (installation view, psychiatric observation room, Hospital, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Illumination, 2014 (installation view, psychiatric observation room, Hospital, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Namgyal monks; photo: Jock Fistick

Ai Weiwei, Illumination, 2014 (installation view, psychiatric observation room, Hospital, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Hopi Prisoners at Alcatraz, January 1895; photo courtesy of The National Park Service

Native American occupiers; photo: Ilka Hartmann

Illumination installation; photo: Jackie von Treskow, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Installation sound test; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Hospital, Alcatraz (interior view); photo: Ben Fash, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Hospital, Alcatraz (interior view); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Blossom, 2014 (Installation detail, Alcatraz Hospital); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Blossom, 2014 (Installation detail, Alcatraz Hospital); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Blossom, 2014 (Installation detail, Alcatraz Hospital); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Blossom, 2014 (Installation detail, Alcatraz Hospital); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Blossom, 2014 (Installation detail, Alcatraz Hospital); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Inmate gardener; photo: Joseph H. Simpson, courtesy National Park Service

Jingdezhen kiln; photo credit: Corbis; Violet Law

Blossom install; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Blossom install; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

The Dining Hall, Alcatraz (interior view); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Alcatraz inmates in the dining room; photo: Golden Gate National Recreation Area/Park Archives and Records Center

Ai Weiwei, Yours Truly, 2014 (installation view, Dining Hall, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Yours Truly, 2014 (installation view, Dining Hall, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Yours Truly, 2014 (installation view, Dining Hall, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Yours Truly, 2014 (installation view, Dining Hall, Alcatraz); photo: Jan Stürmann, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Ai Weiwei, Yours Truly, 2014 (installation detail, Dining Hall, Alcatraz); photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Visitor selects Yours Truly postcard; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Visitor writes Yours Truly postcard; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Visitor writes Yours Truly postcard; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Visitor writes Yours Truly postcard; photo: Nina Dietzel, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Yours Truly postcards awaiting shipping; photo: Tyler Reed, courtesy FOR-SITE Foundation

Yours Truly fabrication; photo: Urban Wood Furnishings

Yours Truly postcard scan; image: FOR-SITE Foundation

Yours Truly postcard scan; image: FOR-SITE Foundation

Yours Truly postcard scan; image: FOR-SITE Foundation

Yours Truly postcard scan; image: FOR-SITE Foundation

Yours Truly postcard scan; image: FOR-SITE Foundation

Yours Truly postcard scan; image: FOR-SITE Foundation

Yours Truly postcard scan; image: FOR-SITE Foundation

Irom Sharmila letter and portrait; left photo: Desmond Coutinho, right photo: Divya Arya/BBC Hindi

@Large by the Numbers; image: FOR-SITE Foundation

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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