Book Launch and Research Talk with Dani Ploeger: Everyday Technologies in Extreme Circumstances

Dani Ploeger Book launch and research talk: Everyday Technologies in Extreme Circumstances with Dani Ploeger



De Montfort University’s Drama, Dance and Performance Studies Research Institute warmly invites you to the first event in our Borderlines 2021-2022 Seminar Series:

Everyday technologies in extreme circumstances

This Drama Research Group online talk by Dani Ploeger (Royal Central School of Speech and Drama / V2_Lab for the unstable media, Rotterdam / DMU) will take place via Zoom on Thursday the 16th of December, 14.30 – 16.15 GMT. Dani Ploeger will present his new book Deserted Devices and Wasted Fences, accompanied by a talk about his current research.

Book launch: Deserted Devices and Wasted Fences: Everyday technologies in extreme circumstances. Bridport: Triarchy Press, 2021.

How can we imagine a technologized life beyond globalized standardization and obsessions with endless growth? In Deserted Devices and Wasted Fences, artist and cultural theorist Dani Ploeger examines everyday technologies in places and circumstances that are usually unforeseen by their designers, manufacturers and marketers. He travels through second-hand markets in sub-Saharan Africa, the frontline in the Russo-Ukrainian War, desert landscapes in the Middle-East, anti-immigration fences on the EU border and many other sites of turmoil, disruption and surprising convergences. Examining the ways in which technologies that were intended for use in everyday consumer culture start to (mal)function, gain new meanings and are appropriated in these liminal spaces can give us hints at what alternative techno-cultures could look like. This collection of essays provokes unusual perspectives on how technologies might be developed, used and reappropriated in support of people’s personal, local and regional lifeworlds.

Research talk: Performative Technologies 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 talk 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 artistic strategies and tactics 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.

The event is finished.


Dec 16 2021


9:30 am - 11:15 am

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