Krzysztof Wodiczko: Projecting political Issues

by Athena Wong

Using slides and video projections to present political and social issues, multi-artist Krzysztof Wodiczko gives voice to those who are marginalized due to exile, violence, alienation, and socio-economical circumstances, and ultimately challenges the problems of humanity, democracy, and truths. Wodiczko is a Polish refugee who immigrated to Canada in 1977. He taught at various Canadian universities before settling in New York and Massachusetts, where he currently lives and works. He is well known for his outdoor projections on architecture and monuments, taking the gallery or museum outside into public spaces. Since 1980, he has created more than seventy displays all over the world – Mexico, Brazil, Japan, France, and so on – and in 1996, he incorporated sound and motion to further interact with society. Wodiczko also creates functional “instruments” to assist homeless people and immigrants to heal and survive in a therapeutic way.

Wodiczko’s CECUT projection in Tijuana, Mexico allows women who are underprivileged and possibly traumatized by rape to speak out. The video camera attached to the woman projects only her face and voice onto a landmark of Tijuana. As the position of the camera is fixed, the boundary between the person and architecture becomes blurred. The colour of the building intertwines with the skin tone of the women, shifting one’s focus between architecture and person. The large scale image and amplified voice forces the audience to see and hear about these issues.