Digital Performance as Mythical Intervention
A digital thermometer operated by a border guard; a high-tech piranha developed to devour electro-magnetic waves; the remains of a slide projector found at a second hand market on the equator. Looking at three extra-ordinary devices, this short lecture will examine how seemingly rational and utilitarian innovations in contemporary technologized culture are permeated by mythical beliefs and practices. What might at first sight appear to be merely a functional tool is often entangled in a web of stories, imaginations and ideologies.
Touching on studies in Consumer Culture Theory and Bruno Latour’s writing on technological innovation as a networked endeavour, I will propose an artistic practice to envisage alternate techno-cultures. Appropriating the mythical imaginaries that are already present just below the surface of everyday consumerism, material interventions can be developed that challenge the unsustainable and alienating realities of globally standardized technology promoted by Big Tech. Through a reclaiming of waste and subversion of the new, this practice of artistic myth-making imagines and creates playful devices that connect to what Jürgen Habermas calls ‘lifeworld’; the everyday world that we share with others, beyond institutional and organised communication and power.
Dani Ploeger explores situations of conflict and crisis on the fringes of the world of high-tech consumerism. 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 so-called ‘high-tech fence’ on the EU outer border in Hungary and interviewed witnesses of US drone attacks in Pakistan about sound and technologies of violence. His work is shown at galleries, museums and festivals for fine art and media art, such as ZKM Center for Culture and Media Karlsruhe, Venice Architecture Biennale, House of Electronic Arts Basel, Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig, WRO Media Art Biennale, The New Institute museum for architecture, design and digital culture in Rotterdam and the V&A Museum London. He holds a PhD from the University of Sussex, UK, and is currently a Research Fellow at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London and a Fellow at V2_Lab for the unstable media in Rotterdam. Dani is represented by Art Claims Impulse in Berlin.