For The Other Gods: Dani Ploeger I PATIOO Monoroom

Sep 16 - Dec 9, 2021

The Cults, 2020-21

16mm film, 6’11”


Objet Trouvé (Orodha), 2019

slide projector parts


Tripod Stand / Fetish, 2020-21

tablet stand by Joe K’ochola, gold leaf, tablet computer

In ‘for the other gods’, Dani Ploeger presents his new sci-fi short film, The Cults, alongside two related artefacts. The Cults was shot at Dandora dumpsite, the largest landfill in Nairobi, Kenya, as part of Ploeger’s long-term investigation into the reappropriation of everyday technologies on the fringes of globalized consumer culture. The film reworks the ethnographic text 'The Cult of Mumbo in South Kavirondo', written by a British colonial administrator in 1930, and responds to anthropologist John Marshall’s documentary ‘The Hunters’ (1957). In contrast to a dystopian dump landscape of endless waste and European-style recycling, The Cults suggests a utopian techno-culture where discarded equipment is appropriated and reused based on myths, stories and memories. The film features a collection of repurposed devices that were created in workshops Ploeger organized with artists, electricians and academics in Nairobi.

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.

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