Krzysztof Wodiczko: Monument for the Living | Art21 “Extended Play”


This drawing is my first examination
of the site of the projection. This is the statue, standing on a pedestal. That was very important for me to imagine how the statue can be
animated with a projection. [Krzysztof Wodiczko: Monument for the Living] People always gather in front of monuments. There are events, protests. Sometimes we sit on their shoulders,
wave flags. We paint them with new narrative. Those monuments, they witnessed events before– some of them, major events. We want the monuments to observe and record, monitor what we do today, again. For so many years,
I’ve been trying to give a voice, or amplify the voice that is not heard, or even silenced.

–I saw many dead or dying children. –It was horrible. –They jumped in, not knowing that it was
poisoned, not knowing it was radiated. There are more than seventy million refugees, people who are forced to
leave their home countries because those countries are engaged in wars– mostly civil wars. In Madison Square Park,
there are four other monuments. This one is the most prominent. And this one is definitely
related to the Civil War. We don’t really have monuments to refugees. [VOICE FROM THE PROJECTION]
–I left my parents. –I left my mom, –and my siblings, –without even saying goodbye. –I left the way you see me. [ANOTHER VOICE FROM THE PROJECTION]
–So ten years, we were in the situation –of sleeping in a tent, –waking up, –feeling afraid the entire day, –and not being able to do
anything with your life. [ANOTHER VOICE FROM THE PROJECTION]
–It was torture. –There was no hope for better life. –Nineteen years of my youth, my life,
was taken away. [WODICZKO]
To actually see a refugee speaking, it’s a very rare opportunity for the public. [VOICE FROM THE PROJECTION]
–It was hard for me, leaving my child. –If anyone can imagine leaving a child behind… –I don’t think anyone would imagine leaving
their child behind for even a day or two. –I have to leave my child behind me
for ten years. –Ten years! [WODICZKO] In order to live with
such traumatic memories, speaking, communicating it with others, it’s very important. For those who work with trauma, they know very well
that there is nothing more painful than the overwhelming experience
that is not communicated and shared. Once it’s shared, it opens the path to healthier life
with traumatic memories. So this is my general approach towards monuments. We have to help them to be useful for the living, making them relevant to us so we can build a future– the better future– maybe the future in which some of those monuments, like war memorials, will never need to be built, because there will be no wars and no refugees.

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