Wodiczko’s approach to filming the face

Tijuana, MexicoThere is a rich background and considered approach to Krzysztof Wodiczko‘s more recent work of the last decade. It is a long process of interaction with individuals in a community before projecting the narratives they have recorded, or recount live, onto the sides of city architecture. However, what struck me most when I first saw a video of Wodiczko’s work was the sense of performance and intimacy that his technical set-up creates. The video I first saw was of an intervention in Tijuana, Mexico in which a live feed of woman’s face is projected in stark detail onto the curved surface of the El Centro Cultural building behind her while she recounts experiences from her life.

Krzysztof Wodiczko

The camera, microphone and lighting are all mounted on to the participants head. This is cumbersome, and unnatural, and yet it frees them up to move as they wish through the crowd and space. This allows them to move themselves away from the centre of attention in the social space, although of course their face is always fixed in full illumination large on the building above. In an interview in “Art in the Twenty-First Century” from which the Tijuana excerpt is taken, Wodiczko describes this as “background and foreground at the same time … shifting focus”.

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