Ai Weiwei and JR. Political Artists and Activist Artists and the Plight of Refugees
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The article will address Ai Weiwei’s and JR’s political engagement with the refugee crisis, the former as a political artist and the latter as an activist artist. Ai, in a series of conceptual installations and the feature film Human Flow, as did JR at Tecate on the Mexican-US border, have sought to shed light on the securitization of migration and the hollowness of neoliberalism’s human rights discourse. More generally, the article will interrogate the roles of the socially concerned political artist and the socially involved activist artist. An underlying question deals with the power of representation inevitably wielded by artists. While the ‘dilemma of representation’ cannot be resolved, the article explores the different approaches to this dilemma employed by Ai and JR to mitigate the dilemma.