This survey of work by Krzysztof Wodiczko contextualises over 40 years of his practice against the backdrop of one of the most tragic and complex humanitarian crises the world has faced, and in light of the UK’s recent decision to leave the EU. Through investigations into forced migration and cultural displacement, Wodiczko proposes projects which function as communication tools for affected individuals. Combining art and technology as a form of critical design practice, his methodology frequently leads to the construction of vehicles, instruments and prostheses that emerge from collaboration with their intended users.
His 2011 work, Guests, plays a central role in the exhibition, denouncing the ambivalent status of displaced people in contemporary society. The experience of displacement can affect those away from ‘home’ but also those returning, estranged from their own contexts. The exhibition presents Wodiczko’s extensive work with military veteran communities, including those in Liverpool. Looking at the realities of contemporary conflict, Wodiczko explores the plight of a wide range of marginalised groups and the incommensurable distance between those who have experienced trauma and those who have not.
Wodiczko’s creative responses to social issues have particular significance to FACT’s Communities Programme, which critically explores some of these same areas through long-term collaborative projects including the award-winningVeterans in Practice programme. Crucially, we are able to better understand the complexity of our current context through the clarity of the voices at the centre of these projects.