Human Flow — The artist's first full-length film addresses the worldwide refugee crisis, urging the world to remember the humanity behind headlines.

At a time when human right crises are only addressed when turned into sensationalist headlines, only to then get immediately lost in the internet void, it’s not a challenge to become desensitised. In places like England or the United States, the people who are refugees become nothing but vague concepts, often used for political leverage – out of sight, out of mind.

That’s the detached attitude that Ai Weiwei wishes to address in his new documentary and first feature-length film, Human Flow. Released on December 4th, the film shines a light on the daily plight faced by over 65 million refugees, who have been displaced from their homes due to war, climate change and famine.

Recorded over the course of a year in 23 different countries and over 40 camps, from Berlin to Bangladesh, the documentary offers both a personal perspective and a global outlook on a subject that is often thrown around but not discussed beyond generalisations. The artist seeks to humanise the crisis – to remind everyone that these are people, and not enough is being done to change the way they are currently living.

Ultimately, Weiwei’s message is one of unity – that we must push forward beyond prejudices and extreme divisions, and instead recognise humanity as something whole, together. To recognise that it is not enough to look away and vaguely acknowledge statistics every once in a while – real change is necessary.

Human Flow will premiere at the Barbican on the 4th of December, accompanied by a panel discussion hosted by Channel 4 News’ John Snow. Weiwei is also fundraising alongside charity Help Refugees to offer assistance to refugees during the coming winter.

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