Paola Guzman is an editorial intern with Long Island Wins. She’s currently a junior at LIU Post, majoring in English.
Ai Weiwei, a Chinese dissident, artist, and filmmaker released on Oct. 13, “Human Flow,” a film aimed at bringing awareness to the refugee crisis.
Weiwei transforms daily international news into a tangible and immense crisis for people to witness.
The European migrant crisis originates from war and conflict in Middle Eastern countries. Although refugees often seek asylum around Europe, New York accepted approximately 5,000 refugees in 2016, according to the state’s Bureau of Refugee and Immigrant Assistance.
“Human Flow,” chronicles Weiwei’s voyage around four continents learning about the lives of refugees. The film depicts the realities of a refugee life in various countries. The camera captures the destruction left in Syria, the refugee camps in Iraq, and a boatful of refugees traveling to Greece. While, Weiwei’s film is filled with dark moments, it shines light on the refugee crisis.
Throughout the film, Weiwei attempts to temporarily live like the refugees by emulating their daily struggles. The film is filled with his powerful encounters with the displaced people, including a father who has lost his family and women who have nothing left for their children.
“To pay attention, to gaze your vision to something probably is one of the most important acts humans can have,” Weiwei told Elizabeth Rubin, writing for The Intercept.
“We react to the reality and maybe we have become a new human being incapable of caring anymore,’ he added, lamenting what he sees as the modern decline of attention spans and focus.
This week, Weiwei will also host an exhibition in New York City. His exhibition, “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” is a series of fences, cages, and secret passageways scattered throughout 300 sites in all five boroughs.
The series is a representation of the current state of immigration around the world. Whether it’s bars on a window or broken fences, Weiwei uses his art to illustrate a parallel to the world’s immigration and refugee crisis.
To learn more about this exhibition, visit www.publicartfund.org and read CityLab’s article, as well.