Work for Live Art Denmark
2022, performance lecture on his VR work “Frontline”, Friisland Live #6, Friisland.
The Dutch artist and activist Dani Ploeger travelled to the Eastern frontline of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia long before the official beginning of the war. While there was quite a lot of media attention in the West, when Russian backed militias first occupied territories in the Donbass, it was soon pointed elsewhere, when no spectacular developments and changes of the sutuaiton took place. Dani used video and VR material he shot of a small group of soldiers he embedded himself with to create the VR installation “Frontline”. It focusses on an often overlooked reality of war: Waiting. While we are used to taking the somewhat spectacular images of destruction by gunfire and eplosions as equivalent with war, its reality for the fighters who are actively involved in it, includes much longer stretches of waiting than any kind of “action”. In the installation, the audience enter a white cube one by one. As soon as someone enters the theatre (of war or of the gallery) a cliche war soundtracks is played. But as they pick up and look through the VR goggles that hang in the middle of the room, the sounds stop and are replaced by an ominous silence, while the viewer lets his gaze wander over a group of soldiers, caught in an appearantly infinite smoking break. During his performance lecture, he presented the VR work and elaborated on the background and his interest in sites of conflict, which he has visited around the world.
In his work, Dani explores situations of conflict and crisis on the fringes of the world of high-tech consumerism. His objects, videos and software engage with the spectacles of waste, sex and violence and question the sanitized, utopian marketing surrounding innovation and its implications for local and global power dynamics.
Most of his work is informed by field research on the use of everyday technologies under extraordinary circumstances. He has made a VR installation while accompanying frontline troops in the Russo-Ukrainian war, travelled to dump sites in Nigeria to collect electronic waste originating from Europe, stolen razor wire from the EU outer border in Hungary and interviewed witnesses of US drone attacks in Pakistan, among others.
His artwork is shown at museums, galleries and festivals for fine art and media art internationally. Dani is also a Research Fellow at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, an Associate Research Fellow at De Montfort University Leicester and a Fellow at V2_Lab for the unstable media in Rotterdam.
He is represented by Art Claims Impulse gallery in Berlin.
Read more on Dani’s website.