Those are just some of the questions that will be asked throughout this event, through a guided tour of the exhibition and talks by four fascinating and diverse speakers:

Jason Bell - a former soldier who served 5 years with the REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers), who is currently working as Veteran Project Assistant (and often participates) on several digital arts projects with ex-forces members, through FACT's Veterans In Practice group.

Tom Kewin - a PhD candidate at the University of Liverpool’s English department.

Mark Storor - an artist who collaborates with people from marginalized and vulnerable communities

Adele Spiers - Lead Art Psychotherapist at SOLA Arts, a community arts project which specializes in supporting people from the refugee and BME community.

This event is inspired by Wodiczko’s fascinating and thought-provoking Liverpool Biennial 2016 exhibit here at FACT. When walking around this exhibition, and in particular when viewing the more recent exhibits including collaborations with the homeless, war veterans and immigrants, it is clear that the idea of ‘trauma’ is a key concept running throughout Wodiczko’s work. 

But, what do we mean by ‘trauma?’ Whilst the term ‘trauma’ is often associated closely with the medical category of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Wodiczko does not limit his work to those diagnosed with PTSD. Working with marginalized communities, his projects give those who have had traumatic experiences, be it overwhelming experiences of violence, abuse, poverty or a multitude of other experiences, the ability to tell their story on a public stage. 

Whilst the broad theme of ‘trauma’ is evident throughout his work, three more specific questions arise from the exhibits that will frame this discussion event. In a number of projects, such as the Veteran Project and Dis-Armor Project, Wodiczko uses technology to aid individuals who have experienced traumatic events to communicate their experiences to others in public space. So, our first theme for the event will be communication; how can individuals who have experienced traumatic events be aided in communicating their experiences? Using technology, art and music? 

Secondly, we will focus on representation. Once individuals have communicated their experiences and relayed their testimony, Wodiczko represents these in a variety of forms. For example, in the War Veteran Vehicle project he represented the veterans’ testimony by firing sound and text onto public buildings in Liverpool. This begs the question; how can traumatic experiences best be represented? Do art, film and fiction provide equally good platforms for representing these experiences? Are there complications when an artist or writer who has not experienced the trauma themselves represent the experiences of others?  

Lastly, Wodiczko’s work allows the experiences of the traumatized and marginalized to share their experiences, in turn raising public awareness of the effects of war, violence, homelessness and immigration on individuals. Thus, the third theme of ‘public awareness raising’ will allow us to question how we can raise awareness of the effects of these traumatic events. 

Through bringing together people from a variety of fields and backgrounds, and providing a space to ask challenging and thought provoking questions, the event will allow us to dig deeper into the concept of ‘trauma’ and question what it means today. 

Join us here at FACT at 2pm on Wednesday 21 September for Trauma, Representation and the Works of Krzysztof Wodiczko: A Discussion Event.