Close your eyes for five minutes and escape your reality to be transposed to a completely different place, with a completely different pace. It’s a five minute getaway.
Longing for Freedom
As a travelers, we’re all essentially searching for the same feeling: Freedom.
As such, it’s especially moving when we come face to face with the exact opposite.
We were lucky enough to be visiting Alcatraz Island in San Fransisco while this Ai Weiwei art exhibition was going on.
This sound installation invites you to sit and listen to music, poetry, and spoken words by people who have been detained for the creative expression of their beliefs, as well as works created under conditions of incarceration.
The diverse selection includes the Tibetan singer Lolo, who has called for his people’s independence from China; the Russian feminist punk bad Pussy Riot, opponents of Vladimir Putin’s government; and the Robben Island Singers, activists imprisoned during South Africa’s apartheid era.
Ai Weiwei has described the texture of the human voice as a potent vehicle for human connection and communication. Heard inside a cell, speech and singing create a powerful contrast to the isolation and enforced silence of imprisonment.
As writers and artists we take freedom of speech seriously, but as travelers, we value our physical freedom just as much. With the recent events with Charlie Hebdo in France, we think this issue couldn’t be more timely. Faced with the blatant decision between expressing our beliefs and being incarcerated, we’re not sure which we’d choose.
These are the sounds of those brave souls who have chosen to stand up to their beliefs and payed the price.
In order of appearance in the podcast:
Lolo (Tibetan, born 1983) Raise the Tibetan Flag, Children of the Snowland
Victor Jara (Chilean, 1932-1973) Manifesto
The Plastic People of the Universe (Czech) Toxika
Martin Luther King Jr (United States, 1929-1968) Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence
The Robben Island Singers (South African) What a System (What a Crime)
You’re listening to these from inside a cold damp prison cell outfitted with nothing more than a simple cot, sink, and toilet. It’s no bigger than a standard American bathroom. Can you identify with these sounds?
Put on your headphones. Close your eyes. Press play.
Come back every other Monday for another, completely different, Minute Escape.