Krzysztof Wodiczko

An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world are currently displaced, forced to leave their homes as a result of conflict or persecution. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees. 

The Flashback episode  features a selection of works spanning the 50 year career of Krzysztof Wodiczko, who is known for creating artworks to empower marginalised communities including immigrants, veterans and the homeless, giving light to societal injustices. Wodiczko defines ‘flashback’ as the sudden re-emergence of memories, characterised by psychological conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Wodiczko’s 2009 installation Guests, originally commissioned for the 53rd Venice Biennale, forms central part of the exhibition, reflecting, in this new context, on the current migratory crisis and debates around immigration. This large scale installation creates the illusion of windows, through which the viewer can see immigrants interacting with each other and exchanging remarks about their situation and problems, seemingly outside the gallery space. Here, Wodiczko plays with cultural displacement, and the social invisibility of this marginalised group.

Examples of Wodiczko’s continuing work with military veterans will be showcased, including the prototype device Veteran Helmet (2015), created to aid veterans suffering with PTSD to share their experience of the condition. Documentation of The War Veteran Vehicle (2009), originally commissioned by FACT, will also be exhibited. For this project, an active military vehicle, fitted with a video projector and PA system, was used to create the appearance of words being fired onto the surface of public buildings and monuments. The project contributed to the creation of FACT’s award-winning Veterans in Practice programme, which aims to encourage local ex-servicemen and women to get involved in creative projects, and provides support for them to integrate with the wider community.


Other works presented at FACT will include the Homeless Vehicle Project (1988-89), where Wodiczko workedwith members of the homeless community in New York to create tools to aid their survival and communication. Another vehicle on display, Podium (1977-1979), is a platform for speaking, propelled forward by the strength and passion of the orator.