Homeless Vehicle Project – Krzysztof Wodiczko – Site – Place – Context – 1987-1989

Wodiczko is an artist most well known for his large scale projections onto public monuments, he is quite political and often projects images that radically change the meaning of the building creating what he calls a ‘counter-monument’. However Wodiczko has also created works of art that he calls social actions. Speaking of his project the Homeless Vehicle he wrote that he wanted to draw away ‘attention from the work of art as dissent to the work of art as social action: in this case, the discussions and design collaboration with members of the homeless community to develop both a physical object and a conceptual design that would make their participation in the urban economy visible and self-directed.’

The work was largely based in New York although the first was created in Poland and some more conceptual versions were designed in Canada. Wodiczko spoke of the importance that those using the vehicles were taken seriously even though the public were more apprehensive as he wanted the work to legitimise the problems of a key part of the community.

He created a vehicle that would store a homeless persons possessions but also provide them with a sheltered sleeping area. They looked similar to a rocket, made of a shiny light weight metal for durability but also to a certain extent to make them stand out so the public would be more aware of homeless in the area and the issues surrounding them

Following on from the themes Wodiczko brought up in the Homeless Vehicle Project he created Poliscar in 1991. It was designed to be a command centre for the local community and provide them with a place to talk about their issues. The vehicle was equipped essentials such as food, first aid supplies and even as a place for radio and video transmission. The concept was that the Poliscar would provide a place for the community to come together in a public sphere.

I really like the idea of Wodiczko’s work and think he is really involving himself in actively helping the community as well as creating art as opposed to just creating something within the community. For my current project I would like to create something that gives back to the community I become involved in, not to just come in and use them.

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