Krzysztof Wodiczko’s "Xenological Instruments", an Equipment for a City of Strangers: Urban Spaces and De-Alienation of the Immigrant

Guglielmo Scafirimuto


The article considers how the public art of Krzysztof Wodiczko’s acts as part of the discourse of political intervention in the urban space of marginalized people through technological and artistic media.

The analysis of his “Xenological Instruments” designed in the 1990s - and in particular their last version, the Mouthpiece (1995) –  focuses on Wodiczko’s “maieutic” work about immigrants in several international cities, and on his efforts to give them a voice and visibility in public space. Brought to different urban locations by “stranger’s” bodies, these “instruments”, which are technological prostheses with a portable screen, are able to stimulate the dialogue with local people opening the possibility of creating new democratic spaces of confrontation. Wodiczko audience interactivity outside the exhibition space of the museum, hoping to test the actual dynamics of our democracies and to charge his art with a “scandalous functionalism”.


Video; Performance; Wodiczko; Immigration; Public Art

DOI: 10.6092/issn.2280-9481/8319


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