Krzysztof Wodiczko: Monument
To realize Monument, Krzysztof Wodiczko collaborates with twelve resettled refugees to the United States. Their filmed likenesses and spoken narratives are superimposed as a twenty-five minute video projection onto the 1881 monument to Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, lauded in his day as a Union naval hero. Pertinent to this project is current scholarship documenting how the American Civil War drove millions from their homes to generate a nineteenth-century refugee crisis.
Similarly, each filmed participant’s home country has suffered the devastation of civil war which prompted Wodiczko to choose the Farragut location to compare how select individuals are lionized in wartime and others are overlooked. With footage of people from Africa, Central America, South Asia, and the Middle East, the bronze monument emerges as a surrogate for those whose harrowing journeys and quest for democracy brought them to the United States. Monument invites the public to acknowledge a conflicted history of accepting and rejecting refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants.
Building on a practice that for more than fifty years has created platforms for and collaborated with marginalized people, Wodiczko renders in high relief attention to global migration and the international refugee crisis. Farragut’s personage, a bygone symbol of naval prowess, is updated and transferred to individuals not regularly honored in public monuments.