Krzysztof Wodiczko: An Interview

Video Data Bank

2005 | 00:51:00 | United States | English | Color | Stereo | 4:3 | DV video

Collection: On Art and Artists, Interviews, Single Titles

Tags: Interview, VDB Interviews

Born in 1943 in Poland, Wodiczko lives and works in New York and Cambridge, MA, where he has been professor at MIT since 1991. Wodiczko is best known for his large-scale slide and video projections, which amplify political issues locally to their place of installation. Rather than use a screen or gallery wall as backdrop, Wodiczko projects these pieces onto public edifices and monuments, making explicit on their very surfaces the communal contexts and myths or ideologies that they represent. Utilizing his background in industrial design, Wodiczko has also produced specialized technologies for marginal members of society; e.g. a cart with functions tailored to the needs of the homeless. Wodiczko has written extensively on public and private art.

In this interview, Wodiczko provides thoughtful commentary on his Polish experience and on the ideas and interactions that make up his artwork. Wodiczko emphasizes that which can be learned and used from his experience of a Poland full of contradictions and competing impulses. Resisting authoritarianism and market capitalism simultaneously, Wodiczko’s designs and aesthetic concepts were always already enmeshed in politics and in the defense of human needs. After describing intellectual currents and his ultimate disappointment with his Polish colleagues, Wodiczko’s discussion moves to the work that he became known for, from his earliest pedagogical projections, to his first experiments with indoor and outdoor architectural projection. Wodiczko addresses the complex vision that passing spectators expressed, including the field of metaphors (architectural, bureaucratic, anthropomorphic, etc.) subsumed in it. He talks about the various functions of monuments, and how those functions can be used and changed. Wodiczko goes into great detail describing the processes, interactions, stagings, and outcomes of the CECUT projection in Tijuana and the St. Louis projection, providing frank and lucid evaluation of their aims, priorities, and lacunae. The interview also includes discussion of various other topics, such as spectacle, structuralism, and current work and interests.

Interview conducted by Carol Becker in 2005.

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