Cults: Dani Ploeger I PATIOO Monoroom
16mm film, 6’
A colonial analysis of an anti-European cult is teleported to a future techno-culture where mythic lifeworlds are created with appropriated technologies, while sorry creatures continue to scrounge for resources and worship standardized devices on the dumps of consumerism. This short film takes an afro-futurist perspective on the appropriation of obsolete consumer technologies (‘orodha’ in Kiswahili) and their transformation into devices with new uses and meanings, a commonplace practice in Kenya. Drawing from the style of mid-20th century ethnographic films, The Cults imagines an alternate technological culture that takes it starting point from East-African stories, myths and practices in order to challenge the standardized technological narratives of globalized consumer culture. The film reworks a 1930s ethnographic text by a British colonial administrator on the early 20th century Mumbo cult, an anti-colonial religious movement.
Taking fragments of this colonial text out of context and thus reversing its meaning, it is used to critique neo-colonial resource-harvesting and the fetishization of standardized consumer technologies. Another part of the text is reclaimed by one of the protagonists – a woman in sci-fi attire made of African kitenge fabric – who narrates the origin story of the Mumbo cult, translated ‘back’ from English into its original language, Dholuo, directly to the viewers. Meanwhile a vacuum
cleaner made of a plastic bottle and reclaimed computer parts plays the role of the snake that occurs in the story.