Prosthetic communication equipment

The Mouthpiece has been designed to help strangers who find it difficult to express their feelings or opinions face to face. A small LCD monitor and loudspeakers are covering the mouth of the wearer like a gag. The equipment replaces the real act of speech with pre-recorded, edited and electronically perfected statements, questions, answers, stories, etc.

The Mouthpiece “replaces” the actual act of speech with the moving image of the immigrant’s lips and the sound of his/her voice. The small size of the screen forces viewers to come closer in order to see the image of speaking lips and to hear the voice clearly, reducing the distance between the immigrant and the other.

The Mouthpiece points to the absurdity of depriving speech rights in a democratic society. It responds to the actual political process and experience of such deprivation, while at the same time it helps to translate this disadvantage into a new advantage. This stranger becomes an expert and a virtuoso in the technology and the artistry of speech, equipped to speak better than others who have yet to overcome speechlessness in their encounter with strangers.


Designed in 1994 by Krzysztof Wodiczko, author of the Homeless Vehicles. The artist also developed Dis-Armor (1999-present), another psychocultural prosthetic equipment designed to meet the communicative need of the alienated, traumatized, and silenced residents of today’s cities.

Dis-Armor allows it wearers to speak through their backs. LCD screens on the back display live images of the user’s eyes transmitted from cameras installed in the helmet. A speaker amplifies his/her voice. Attached to the helmet is a rearview mirror, alternatively, a rearview video camera, monitor, microphone, and headphone enable the user to see the face and hear the words of who is standing behind. Wireless video equipment further allows two users to work in tandem, showing each other the other’s eyes and broadcasting to each the other’s voice.


Dis-Armor focus on the psychological difficulties of Japanese high school students and “school refusers,” who live in silence and lack facial expression. It uses the ancient traditions of arms making to conceive of a playful alternative to intimidating face-to-face communication.