“You cannot work towards peace being peaceful” says artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, who explains this paradoxical position in terms of his personal experiences growing up in Poland under communist rule. Filmed at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Wodiczko’s interview is punctuated by the sound of sirens from outside, the city in a state of “full alert.”
By appropriating public buildings and monuments as backdrops for projections, Krzysztof Wodiczko focuses attention on ways in which architecture and monuments reflect collective memory and history. Projecting images of community members’ hands, faces, or entire bodies onto architectural façades, and combining those images with voiced testimonies, Wodiczko disrupts our traditional understanding of the functions of public space and architecture. He challenges the silent, stark monumentality of buildings, activating them in an examination of notions of human rights, democracy, and truths about the violence, alienation, and inhumanity that underlie countless aspects of social interaction in present-day society.