Krzysztof Wodiczko the Story Behind “Guests”

 Krzyszfof Wodiczko “Guests”

          Poland artist Krzysztof Wodiczko in 2009 for the Fifty Third Venice Biennale Polish Pavilion display, made the art piece called “Guests”. In which he explore the various problems of immigrants that went to Italy from countries like Romania, Poland, Ukraine, Pakistan and many others.

              He created an interactive audible and visual work which is presented as if the room was filled with foggy but luminous glass windows and behind them there is the dark shapes of people working, taking a break and talking about their problems. Those demonstrated in the dialogue heard through an audio system. He created the illusion of the windows with well-located projectors and live like videos.  Which give the feeling to the audience that they are present but in the other side of the wall. Wodiczko wanted to create a statement about the indifference or “social invisibility” as one of the critics describe, of certain countries towards immigrant people.


Krzyszfof Wodiczko “Guests”

             The illusion created by the artist that these people are in the other side of the wall, also comes from the way people treat immigrants as outsiders and even “invaders” as Wodiczko mentioned. As he demonstrate through his work and the dialogue presented in his art work these immigrants feel they don’t belong neither in their current residence nor where they are from. He also points out with the piece many essential problems of immigration such as lack of possible future if they are not legalized even for those who proceed them, the hard work and the lack of appreciation for their positive contribution to the country. It also gives the feeling that those “guests” are “unable to see those who look at them.” Which resembles the ideas of Michael Foucault, French Philosopher, with the use of surveillance. The theory of surveillance states, one sees the many or the many sees one. Giving the idea that those who have the power are clearly not the immigrants but rather the citizens of the country which decide to neglect them. He also explore the emotions and suffering of the immigrants, through the dialogue in which they explain the fear and sadness for not being able to be part of the society.

                His complete work made an impact to people that visited the Pavilion, by creating conscience and understanding of the many struggles an immigrant has to go through when coming in a new country.


Krzyszfof Wodiczko “Guests”

 Krzysztof Wodiczko “Guests” Interview



Written by Jacquie Nunez

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