Vehicle, a collaboration
with Krzysztof Wodiczko
“This project questions the very possibility of interaction between the intimate and the collective. It is a ‘template for understanding’ (U. La Pietra) the world that expresses the rendering of body and mind in a traumatising environment.”
- Marie-Ange Brayer
The War Veterans Vehicle is a response to the emerging social, psychological and political needs of returning veterans, including those who are unacknowledged and silenced. Its objective is to inspire, encourage and equip the Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans and their families to live with their traumatic past in a communicative, open, socially proactive and public way. An equally important task of the project is to inspire and help the non-veterans to bring themselves close to the veterans’ experience, to listen and speak with them in an informed and emotionally charged way.
The vehicle is an enabling instrument that stimulates public dialogue through a mobile environment for collective conversation. The project conceives of a cultural prosthetic that facilitates an emotive engagement with war veterans as an act of healing and communication. The design of the prototype takes the form of a transformable machine that metamorphoses from a war machine to a messenger conceptualised as a Seraph.
The vehicle is designed to amplify the built environment through its mobility and embedded communication instruments. Designed as an extension to the veteran, the vehicle animates and projects the personal stories and testimonies through embedded communication equipment (LCD screen, data projections, speakers).
The material behaviour of the vehicle’s construction amplifies this further through the transformable capacity of its exterior surfaces. These surfaces of the vehicle have two primary aims – when closed the system operates as a tessellated shield that protects the veteran; when the vehicle ‘opens up’ the surfaces transform in an animated choreography through the design of flexible joints that allow each cell to dynamically reconfigure. The structural and material behaviour is designed to allow the vehicle to perform its mobile parameters as a hard shell system and transform into a series of pliant communication screens in its more stationary communication mode.