Reinforced PVC /
1 boat, 51 figures /
1640 x 560 x 380 cm /
After the Chinese authorities returned his passport in 2015, Ai Weiwei relocated to Berlin. Living in Germany brought Ai much closer to the greatest humanitarian issue facing the world today.
Due to political and social factors—including war, religious conflict, economic and environmental crises—many people from different regions of the world, including Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq, sought safety and opportunity in Europe. In 2015, over one million refugees entered Europe.
In December 2015, Ai went to the Greek isle of Lesvos. The island was one of the main entryways into the EU and hundreds attempted the dangerous sea journey each day. Ai witnessed the refugee boats coming in to shore and those scenes compelled him to become more involved.
Ai decided to produce a documentary film. He traveled to 23 countries and 40 refugee camps, conducting over 600 interviews and filming over 1000 hours of footage. This culminated in Ai’s documentary feature Human Flow (2017).
Parallel to the ongoing research and filming was the creation of new art works. Law of the Journey is a 6330-meter-long inflatable boat with hundreds of human-like figures crafted in reinforced PVC. The monumental work mirrored the crisis of humanity that was occurring in real time.
Law of the Journey (Prototype B) is one of three prototypes created. The work measures 16 meters. On October 12, 2018, the boat was installed for one day in the lake at Ibirapuera Park in São Paulo, Brazil.