Institute of Contemporary Arts, Cinema 2
The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH
Friday 18 November 2016, 2:30-4:00pm
Free tickets can be booked at
(seating is limited, so advance booking is advised)

An artist, two academics and two journalists selected a series of video fragments that engage with armed violence from recent news media, cinema and new media art. Intertwined with a cinema screening of this video collection, they will discuss everyday experiences of fear and violence in Western Europe.

Since the 1990s, representations of Western warfare and public security efforts have predominantly focused on advanced (digital) technologies, such as drones and smart bombs. However, the prominence of automatic firearms in the 2014 and 2015 terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris has marked the return of the image of the battlefield soldier in Western European everyday life: armed terrorists and security forces in military attire seem to increasingly populate public space. This development also affects the production and perception of news reports, cinema and media art. There appears to be a renewed interest in traditional methods of armed violence in representations of Western warfare, in which the display of camouflage uniforms and assault rifles play a prominent role. This raises questions both about the perception of threat and safety in public space, and the expectations surrounding military and consumer technologies.

Artist Dani Ploeger (The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama) will present his work ASSAULT which involved firing an AK-47 at an iPad, among others. Academics Dr. Richard Bramwell (University of Loughborough) and Dr. Chris Williams (Institute of Education, University College London) will look at public security policies in relation to representations of violence in popular culture. Jan Vollmer (independent journalist for VICE, Die Zeit, Die Welt) will reflect on this from the perspective of his recent work on armed conflicts and their representation in Russia and the Ukraine. Catherine Chapman (independent journalist for NBC, VICE) will provide perspective on the use of culture to influence public opinion and the role of art and technology to engage audiences with socio-political issues.

The event is part of the Being Human Festival organized by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).


Dr. Daniël Ploeger
Research Fellow
The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London
Principal Investigator, Digital performance and the global politics of electronic waste
AHRC grant reference: AH/L01582X/1