Critical Vehicles: Writings, Projects, Interviews
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Krzysztof: "Now we have the option of combining the part for bottles and cans with the sleeping part below. What [Victor] is saying is that it doesn't have to be the entire length of the body because you can sleep with legs bent. So that means it could be shorter, and then all the storage area could be above and closed with a plastic seal."
Oscar: "Right, not only is there protection from the wind, but it's theft-proof . . . you've got to think about when you're underneath, and somebody attacks you."
—Conversations about a Project for a Homeless Vehicle
Krzysztof Wodiczko, one of the most original avant-garde artists of our time, is perhaps best known for the politically charged images he has projected onto buildings and monuments from New York to Warsaw—images of rockets projected onto triumphal arches, the image of handcuffed wrists projected onto a courthouse facade, images of homeless people in bandages and wheelchairs projected onto statues in a park from which they had been evicted. In projects such as the "Homeless Vehicle," which he designed through discussions with homeless people, Wodiczko has helped to make public space a place where marginalized people can speak, establish their presence, and assert their rights.
Critical Vehicles is the first book in English to collect Wodiczko's own writings on his projects. Wodiczko has stated that his principal artistic concern is the displacement of traditional notions of community and identity in the face of rapidly expanding technologies and cultural miscommunication. In these writings he addresses such issues as urbanism, homelessness, immigration, alienation, and the plight of refugees. Fusing wit and sophisticated political insight, he offers the artistic means to help heal the damages of uprootedness and other contemporary troubles.
world but at the same time they are outside of it, literally and metaphorically. The homeless are both externalized and infantilized, and as externalities and infants they have neither a vote nor a voice. As long as the voiceless occupy public space, rendering them their voice is the only way to make it truly public. The Poliscar is designed for a particular group of homeless persons, those who have communications skills and the motivation to work with the homeless population in organizing and
a higher, which is to say, closer to Western, standard of living. The environmental evidence of Gierek’s new “New Economic Policy” was painfully visible in the form of the rapid development of ofﬁce towers, gigantic hotels, shopping centers, automobiles, superhighways, and urban vehicular arterials. In this context, the grand ofﬁcial manifestations of the ’70s provided an opportunity to see very clearly the propaganda effects of both the earlier, Stalinist architecture, which now looked
possibilities of being constantly other, according to others’ wishes and to circumstances. I do what they want me to, but it is not “me”—”me” is elsewhere, “me” belongs to no one, “me” does not belong to “me,” . . . does “me” exist?” 4 As Kristeva’s statement suggests, strangers need to gain conﬁdence in the possibility of communicating their own experiences, and they need to be able to communicate this conﬁdence as well. The stranger must learn to take his or her own experience seriously. To
understanding of social antagonisms. You see this in Poland, for example, in Strzemin´ski’s unism or in Kobro’s oeuvre (the attempt to design a form that would bring harmony to tomorrow’s world, that would organize the rhythms of life, negotiate the differences and conﬂicts of forms in something like a communist elimination of conﬂicts and contradictions). Still, I do uphold certain aspects of this avant-garde tradition in my work, especially through my continued interest in public space. The
with his editorial expertise, philosophizing imagination, as well as excellent translation and retranslation of Polish and French transcripts and texts. Special acknowledgment must be extended to Marie-Anne Siche`re, who edited the ﬁrst collection of my writings titled Art public, art critique: Textes, propos et documents, published in French by the E´cole Nationale Supe´rieure des Beaux-Arts in 1995. The integrity and esprit of that book have paved the way for this publication. The Department of