Running through May 17th at the Northwest Labs, the much anticipated Harvard University Graduate School of Design exhibition, The Divine Comedy, features major works including Ai Weiwei’s ‘Untitled’. The Divine Comedy exhibition is an “exploration of the emerging domain of experimental spatial practice where the concerns of art, design, and activism are powerfully converging today.”
Curator’s Statement from Sanford Kwinter
The work Untitled, presented here, makes public the findings of a year-long “Citizens’ Investigation” of the May 2008 Sichuan Province earthquake initiated by the Ai Weiwei Studio on behalf of the thousands of student victims of the disaster.* The survey covered 150 schools in 74 towns to amass the names of the deceased children, their birth dates, and the name of the schools they attended and in which they were killed. The investigation uncovered the subsequently widely reported fact that the defective “tofu construction” of school buildings played a principal role in the disproportionately high mortality rate of schoolchildren, a fact that was strenuously covered up by government authorities. Five thousand three hundred thirty-five backpacks are arrayed here, each in commemoration of a child documented by the “Citizens’ Investigation.” In a sound piece accompanying the work titled Remembrance, the names of the victims are recited.