Bombs & Grenades
Bombs and Grenades is an exposition about guns, art and technology. Contemporary art by Dani Ploeger and artefacts from the collection of the municipality of Vlissingen are in dialogue with objects from collections of the muZEEum and the municipal archive.
Electronics and military purposes
Military interests and technological innovation are often intertwined. Discoveries and developments concerning the production of new weapons are often at the basis of consumer technology. The same is true the other way around; civil electronics are being used more and more often for military purposes. This means that everyday life – peaceful at first sight – might indirectly be linked to violent conflicts elsewhere in the world. Simultaneously firearms have become widespread once again in the streets of West European metropoles in the aftermath of recent terrorist attacks. Thus slick, common high-tech gadgets coexist with technologies for violence seemingly from another era.
The exposition comprises photos, videos and installations by artists Phil Bloom, Hans Eijkelboom and Gregory Green. The installation Work Table IV (2001) by Gregory Green is one of the largest works of the contemporary art collection of the Vlissingen municipality. It consists of a table with the components to build a bomb, as if a bomb-maker has just left his job in the midst of it.
Remarkable historical weapon technologies from the collection of the muZEEum can also be seen, amongst which a self-propelling rocket. A Congreve rocket fired at Vlissingen by the British in 1813. ASSAULT (2016) is one of the exhibits with which Ploeger reveals his own work. For ASSAULT he fired a Kalashnikov gun at an iPad. Another of his works is a video of his much debated action in Middelburg in 2017, when an advertising plane circled the centre of town with the text TERROR / REVOLUTION in tow.
Over the past five years, Ploeger has explored situations of conflict and crisis on the fringes of the world of high-tech consumerism. His objects, videos, and apps emphasize both the fragility and rawness of the materiality of everyday technologies, and question the sanitized, utopian marketing around innovation and its implications for local and global power dynamics. In this context, quasi-journalistic journeys often provide the starting point for the development of his works. He has made a VR installation while embedded with frontline troops in East-Ukraine, travelled to dump sites in Nigeria to collect electronic waste originating from Europe, and interviewed witnesses of US drone attacks in Pakistan for a project around sound and technologies of violence.
Ploeger holds a PhD in media, performance and cultural studies from the University of Sussex, UK (2013). He is currently a Research Fellow at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, and artist-researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands. His work is exhibited at galleries, museums and festivals worldwide. In 2019 and 2020, he will make new work for The New Institute in Rotterdam, Bethanien in Berlin and the Leipzig Museum of Fine Arts, among others. Ploeger lives in Flushing, from where he originates, and usually works between Flushing, London and Berlin.
This exhibition takes place in the context of the 75th commemoration of the Battle of the Scheldt and Liberation of the Netherlands.
Concept and realization: Dani Ploeger, Zeeuws maritiem muZEEum, decreet.
Thanks to: arebyte Gallery London, Phil Bloom, Municipal Archive Vlissingen, Erik Olofson, Dani Ploeger, Leon Riekwell, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, ruimteCAESUUR Middelburg, Vrienden muZEEum en Gemeentearchief Vlissingen.