Combining design and technology, Krzysztof Wodiczko’s projects often function as interventions in public spaces, disrupting the valorization of state-sanctioned aggression. Wodiczko has dedicated his life and art in denouncing militarization and war. The Art Of Un-War follows Wodiczko, an instigator for social change, as he challenges our complacency towards war, xenophobia and displacement with his unique public projections. The Art of Un-War has been used widely by educators of Art, Activism, Cinema and Media Studies, Design and Architecture Anthropology, Sociology and Socially Engaged Art (Social Practice Art)as a tool to ignite insightful conversations about peace building, immigration, using art to create social change and much more.
The film delves into timely works such as Abraham Lincoln War Veteran Projection in Union Square, NYC, where Wodiczko projects the voices and images of soldiers from 20th and 21st-century wars onto the statue of Lincoln. The participants' stories of loss, displacement, abuse, and PTSD combined with Wodiczko’s own story of trauma emerge in tandem as the projects become a vehicle for healing. Other projects in the film feature refugees from Iraq, North Africa, homeless people from New York, and war veterans from France.
In the film Wodiczko’s trajectory unfolds from his birth in Warsaw during World War II, to his expulsion from Poland by the communist regime, to today. This in-depth exploration into the life and art of the Polish born artist focuses on the recurring themes of war in his work throughout his five decades plus career. Wodiczko's public projections become impactful responses to the inequities and horrors of war and injustice.
The evolution of Wodiczko’s political art unfolds throughout the film from his first intervention created in Warsaw in 1968 in response to censorship, to one of his most ambitious projects and a focal point of the film - a radical proposal to transform Paris’ Arc De Triomphe war monument into a site for peace-building research and activism. Wodiczko counters the monument’s glorification of war and portrayal of distorted histories by constructing scaffolding around the Arc De Triomphe and transforming it into its complete antithesis.