Critical Vehicles: Writings, Projects, Interviews

by Krzysztof Wodiczko

This readings documents Wodiczko’s extensive interrogation of urban environments. His work represents a search for a form of public art and attempts to heal the numbness that threatens the health of democratic process by disruption it, waking it up and inserting the voice, experience and presence of those others ho have been silenced, alienated and marginalised.

The word vehicle is associated with the concept of a carrier. In some dictionaries, it is described as “a person or a thing” used as a medium “to convey ideas or emotions”. It is commonly understood as a means of transmission, display, and expression.

Whereas critical suggests judgement, as act of pointing out shortcomings. It denote a point in which a turning point or crisis that may demand an urgent response or action. He describe critical vehicle as a medium to convey ideas and emotions in the hope of transporting to each human terrain a vital judgement towards a vital change.

There are many projects documents in the readings and I would like to focus on City Hall Tower Projection, Kraków, for this review.

Everybody in Kraków know this tower and everyone has a special relation with it. They see this tower as a lonely, if not heroically alienated but authoritative, stable, protective and trustworthy civic structure. His project here involves having participants to tell their stories through the tower and therefore develop their confidence and power of self-expression through the process. This brings people speaking through the tower to the center of public attention and turned them into strangely prominent public figure.

In this project, he mentioned about public and private space. As people are sharing their stories through the tower, the stories can be painful secrets that they might not be able to share openly but want to reveal it through a “third” person in which is the tower. Sometimes, such truths may be unveiled more safely and more freely speaking in an open agora or forum, protected by the aura of democratic public space than in private. For people who are viewing the projection, it may have been easier to empathise with the person as tower than with the actual speakers.

The idea of using a tower to share something deep inside them is a comfortable way for the speakers as being anonymous and speaking up is easier as nobody will recognised them and even have the chance to judge them. This gives the speaker the chance to be private in a public space.

The tower is actually communicating the loneliness and alienation of someone suffering a nightmares in this case the experience of domestic violence – a norm in Kraków but is rarely communicated in public. I feel that the use of this tower  in Kraków will create a great impact as the tower is known by everyone. Everyone shared something in common in this area and therefore being able to experience the stories even more.

As the projection display the speaker on the tower, they play around with the structure where the face is masked by a huge city clock and their head protected by a gigantic Baroque helmet. This way, nobody will know the identity of the speaker which protects their privacy. Also, he mentioned that the speakers are more willing to share their stories there because due to the nature of the building structure being tall, they felt like it is easier to come clean when they are fifty times taller than someone who abuses and neglected them.

The tower now act as a double for something that is in between human to human and something that can represent their personal experience. The tower manage to convey a powerful message when all the personal experience came to light and were publicly shared through everybody’s tower. Also, they share their stories through recordings and hand gesture such as using everyday objects in the video like performing such simple domestic tasks as peeling potatoes, everyone is able to connect more with them.

I would say that this project is really well thought through as the projection only happens at night from 10.30pm – 12.30am and why is that so? I feel that is it because all the recorded accounts described personal events that took place only at night. Making use of the timing, it will able to bring out the message even better as most people experience the same situation at the same timing.

“How is it possible that one does not believes a person, while one believes the Tower?”

I feel that this sentence where he end this project is really very impactful. Sometimes, people choose to not believe when a stranger or even a friend tells a story but why when the problem is enlarge, suddenly everyone come to a common consensus that the story is true and someone need to do something about it?

Issues in IM Practice Final Project


Water is essential to life yet water pollution is one of the most serious threats that we face today. Water pollutions occurs when harmful substances contaminate and degrading water quality. This widespread problem not only jeopardise our health through contaminated water but also the marine life.

For my project, I would like to address the problem of water pollution and how it harms the marine life through a projection. The user will experience being in a submarine looking out of the window to have a closer view of what is happening underwater.

Storyline / Graphics

The big picture will be to portray a peaceful underwater scene at the start and slowly transiting into how pollution change the underwater environment. Playing around with the setting like adding a darker filter will also help to change the mood of the whole scene. I illustrated and animated the elements in the scene myself in illustrator and after effects. In addition, the sound track also plays an important role in transiting the scene as I want the second half of the animation to have an impactful change and also to change the mood of the audience.


In order to allow the user to fully experience being underwater, I want the user to be able to go close to the window projection. Thus, having a rear projection is more ideal than placing the projector infront of the screen as the audience will not be blocking the projection.

Type of screen

Doing rear projection required the screen to be slightly translucent as to allow the projection to seep through on the other side, thus the type of screen is important. Using the material available in school, Kristy suggested that I could use the big white sheet of paper that is mounted onto a wooden frame. I tried rear projection on that screen and it works! Therefore, the next step is to think of the orientation/position of the screen and ways to mount the screen.

Orientation/Position of screen

I tried different orientation for the screen to get an understanding of how the audience will feel when standing infront of the screen. Having the projection too high or too low will not give the audience the experience of viewing through a window. Thus, I decided to make it eye level for the audience to have a comfortable view and also the experience of being in a space.

For my final set up, I will be using 2 c stands to support the screen where I can easily adjust the screen to the level that I want.

Final setup

Final Outcome

Further enhancement

Playing around with the space, I want the audience to feel that they are really inside another space in this case a submarine. However due to the size of the room, the audience won’t be able to have the full experience of being in another space. Also, due to the size of the screen not being able to  fully covering the whole room, it will also affects the whole experience.

Thus, working around with the space and changing/adding of projector can also helps create the immersive experience.


Digital Media Design Exhibition 2016
Artwork by Hiroyoshi Asano

Hiroyoshi Asano projected images on the wall and floor surfaces and reproduced “the edge of waves”. He uses actual waves shot of a few beach along with pleasing sounds of the waves coming back and forth. The whole setup give the audience a refreshing feeling of the sea while being indoors.

I feel that being able to bring an outdoor experience to indoor is really amazing where the audience can feel like they are in the actual space. Thus, playing with the space and the way he place the projector is also important factors here in order to achieve this outcome. Having to think of how the audience is able to interact with the projection itself is also a factor to consider.

Digital art museum L’Atelier des Lumières

The new digital exhibition immerses visitors in the painting of Vincent van Gogh. His paintings have been transformed and projected on all the surface of the Atelier. Using art and music technology, it bring the paintings to life and giving visitors an immersive experience.

Having the whole area projected with visuals definitely allows the visitors to feel like they are transported into a different space. However the thinking process must be difficult as to where the projector should be placed. Also having to project on the floors will creates shadow as visitors step into the space, but I don’t really see much shadows from the images found online thus I’m really interested to find out how the whole process works. In addition, I feel that they make good use of the sound to enhance the visitors experience as sound is important in an immersive space.

Workshop by Prof Biju

Prof Biju first allow us to understand how a camera and projector works. He also talked about the different type of lens (15mm, 30mm, etc) and how the image sensor capture the image through the lens. While a projector have light that passes through an imaging lens and project the image.

For a normal projector, the further the screen from the projector, the larger the image projected.

Next, he went on to show us how to keep the image size regardless on how we move the screen. The camera and projector need to be at the same position to cancel off each other. The screen marker on the plane is detected by the camera which send the information to a software where a camera is in the same position in the real world.

We went on to further discuss regarding the reflector and how it manage to detect and play in different angle. It is important to take note of the xyz plane and the need to have multiple reflector instead of only 1 or 2.

One more thing that Prof Biju mentioned is that it is able to detect human movement by placing the reflector on the human itself. However, we can’t bring this installation out in the public due to all the camera and set up indoor. Thus, he mentioned that thats where Kinect come into the picture. Kinect sense the depth and decide where to project on.

All these can be useful when it comes to projection mapping as we need to understand whether the distance from the projector to the surface will affect the size of the thing we want to project.

Concept Proposal – Water Pollution / CHC

Water Pollution

Click here to find out more about water pollution


For my project, I would like to explore on sea pollution in which how the human activities will harm the marine life.


I planning to do projection on two cube surface where there will be animation of what is going on under the surface (in the sea). How human activities like factory waste and dumping of plastics into the sea affect the the marine life. Also, the use of two cube works like the view of human eyes through a glasses.


There’s this artist that Tisya recommend to me was Martha Atienza where she did a project named, Endless Hours at Sea. There is this area where a sea is projected onto a “ship window” which give the audience a sense of being in the ship rather than out in the public.

Image result for endless hours at sea by martha atienza

Chinese Heritage Centre
History x Modern

The Chinese Heritage Centre (CHC) was founded in 1995 to advance knowledge and understanding of the ethnic Chinese communities in different parts of the world. Established as a non-profit organization, CHC’s work is guided by an international Board of Governors.

As Chinese Heritage Centre (CHC) is right beside my hostel, I get to see how much the surrounding changed over these 2 years. Thus, I would like to focus on how CHC and its surrounding (like the Yunnan Garden) changed since it’s opening.

“The charming and elegant octagonal pavilion in Yunnan Garden added much vibrancy to the Nantah Campus.”

Image result for chinese heritage centre

“A part of Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Jurong campus will be transformed into a vibrant public park over the next few years.”

Also in 1995, a replica of the arch was unveiled in Yunnan Garden. The original arch at Jurong West was something significant to many in the past as it is the the gateway into the university where every Nantah student passed through.

Nantah Arches
The original arch in Jurong West St 93 on the left; the replica arch in NTU’s campus on the right

The arch has three gates – which symbolise three elements of Chinese traditional philosophy – tian (sky), di (earth) and ren (humanity or civilisation). The gates also symbolise three different “talents” – da cai (the wisdom to govern a country); chang cai (the capabilities of a trade); and qing cai (the ethics of man).

There’s a lot of information of CHC to its surrounding from the history till now, thus I would have to research more and find something that I would like to focus on.

Reference Link