That’s the penitentiary up at the top where the cell blocks and clinic were situated. Cell Block A, where Ai WeiWei had his audio installation In Tune, looks out of this side of the building.
Looking down the line at Cell Block A, where each cell has the music or poetry of imprisoned political dissidents piped in from the air vents.
A stainless steel stool was placed in each cell so one could sit and identify with the political prisoner while listening to the piece that either was inspired by the imprisonment or the sort that garnered it. Above was the cell devoted to Pussy Riot (from Russia) with their punk prayer, Virgin Mary Put Putin Away blaring away, here’s a taste below, click to listen:
Toxika, Plastic People of the Universe (Czech)
A Homesick Sparrow, Mahjoub Sharif (Sudanese)
Raise the Tibetan Flag Children of the Snowland, Lolo (Tibetan)
In This Dead-End Street, Ahmad Shamlu (Iranian) had a heartbreaking line, “Songbird kebab roasts over flames of lily and jasmine”.
Manifesto, Victor Jara (Chilean)
Sorrow Tears and Blood, Fela Kuti (Nigerian)
One of the cells was for Martin Luther King Jr, I thought I’d close with this quote from his speech that was playing.