David Pledger is a contemporary artist, curator and activist working within and between the performing, visual and media arts in Australia, Asia and Europe. His live performances, installations, interactive artworks, documentaries, digital art and discursive events have been presented in various locations including theatres, galleries, museums, a car-park, a stables, a cattleyard, a suburban house, a hotel, a film studio and the Australian Institute of Sport. His work is notable for engaging publics in productive and provocative ways. From his initial practice, live performance, he has developed a cross-disciplinary dramaturgy in which a central platform is engaging with artists across artforms and experts from social, scientific and academic fields.
Cited as ‘one of Australia’s true creative originals’ in a national survey of the performing arts, David is the recipient of numerous career awards, grants and commissions from local, state, federal and international entities for his work as a director, designer, writer and actor in live performance and new media. Distinguished by collaborations with media arts pioneer Jeffrey Shaw, visual artists William Kelly and Callum Morton, choreographer Shimizu Shinjin and theatre director, Kim Kwang Lim, his practice interests include the body, the digital realm, politics of power and public space. In 1995, he co-founded not yet it’s difficult (NYID), one of Australia’s leading interdisciplinary arts companies.
His current projects are David Pledger Is Running For Office, a serial performance work contesting the space between artists and politicians, Hotelling, an annual ‘happening’ situated in the hotels of the Gold Coast, and a new biennial art-and-ideas event, 2970° The Boiling Point that has attracted speakers including Julian Assange, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Stelarc, Liam Young, Alex Kelly and Robyn Archer.
He is currently engaged in various adventures with social change agency, Igniting Change, Bleached Arts with Hotelling and the Spatial Information Architecture Lab (SIAL) at the School of Architecture and Design, RMIT, where he has just completed a research scholarship investigating the effect of ‘noise’ on our social, cultural and political systems.
David’s curatorial practice focuses on developing the optimal conditions for artistic production out of which exhibition and programming ambitions are realised. He operates within mentoring, practice-based, pedagogical and presentation contexts.
David is a sought-after speaker and is widely published in books, magazines and journals including The Conversation, Arts Hub, Artlink, Art Wires, Dancehouse Diary, The Daily Review and Platform Papers on matters of artistic practice, cultural policy, social commentary, arts activism and international cultural relations.
On Dramaturgy to Make Visible by Peter Eckersall, Performance Research, A Journal of the Performing Arts, Vol. 23 (UK 2018)
Empathy and Risk by Zsuzanna Soboslay, RealTime #133 (Australia, 2016)
A brightly coloured bell jar, a state-sanctioned aesthetic by Clive Parkinson in Group Therapy (Liverpool University Press and FACT, 2015)
We Say: A Work of Art by Pat Hoffie, Griffith Review #45, (Australia, 2014)
Working with Technology/Making Technology Work edited by Glenn D’Cruz and Gorkem Acaroglu, Australasian Drama Studies #65 (Australia, 2014)
Take Me To Your Leader by Wesley Enoch, Platform Papers #40 (Australia 2014)
Reader’s Forum by Pat Hoffie and Nicole Beyer, Platform Papers #37, (Australia, 2013)
Performing Poetry & the Postnarrative Text in the Theatre of New Media by Rosemary Klich, Contemporary Theatre Review vol 23, #3 (UK, 2013)
The Theatrical Superfield in New Media Dramaturgy: Performance, Media and New-Materialism
Authors: Peter Eckersall, Helena Grehan, Edward Scheer, (Palgrave Macmillan 2017)
As Melbourne In The World by Nikos Papastergiaidis in Melbourne Now (National Gallery of Victoria, 2013): 26-28
The Dramaturgy of Long-Term Cross-Cultural Collaboration in The Contemporary Ensemble: Interviews with Theatre-Makers by Duska Radosavljevic (Routledge, UK, 2013): 214-224
All at sea: the cannibalisation of the Australian arts industry, Arts Hub, 2018
Art that moves, Lim How Ngean, Arts Equator, 2017
Julian Assange to share dangerous ideas with disrupters and provocateurs on Gold Coast, Gold Coast Bulletin, 2017
meet the artist who rallied creatives to strike for fair pay, by Briony Wright, i-D, Vice, 2016
2970° – Creatively informing the future, More Gold Coast, 2015
Into The Melting Pot at 2970° , by Samantha Morris, Blank Gold Coast, 2015
Co-creation at the Theater: Farewell to the Supreme Soloists and Locked Arts, by Monna Dithmer, Politiken, 2014
Wesley Enoch says Australia Lacks the Vocal Arts Leaders it Deserves by Steve Dow, The Guardian, 2014
Urban Dreamers by Anna Louise Richardson, Worth It’s Weight In Gold, 2014
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