David Pledger is an intermedia artist working within and between the performing, visual and media arts in Australia, Asia and Europe. His documentaries, media art, live performances, installations and interactive artworks have been presented in various locations including theatres, galleries, museums, a car-park, a stables, a cattleyard, a suburban house, a film studio and at the Australian Institute of Sport. He has gained wide acclaim for building new artworks that combine movement, video, sound and special effects into an organic system. From his initial practice, live performance, he has developed an extensive cross-disciplinary dramaturgy in which the central platform is engaging with artists across artforms and experts from social, scientific and academic fields. He tends to build works of scale and on an international level.
Performance works such as The Austral/Asian Post-Cartoon: sports edition (1997) and Scenes of the Beginning From The End (2001), the multimedia plays, K (2002-5) and Blowback (2004), the contemporary opera Cosmonaut (2004), and the dance-music laboratory Ampersand (2011-2013) sit centrally within this trajectory as do the installation projects (not) the next-door neighbours (2001), Walk In Drive In (with Callum Morton) (2006), The Meaning of Moorabbin is Open for Inspection (2008), Hoist (2010), He Took Us To the Cattleyard (2012) and the interactive cinematic artwork Eavesdrop (with Jeffrey Shaw) (2004). The crossover with his documentary film projects Cosenza Vecchia (2000) and The UnMaking Of (1998) and his collection of digital works on video, urbanandsuburban (2012), lies in the mediation of non-linear narrative.
He has extensive experience in Europe and Asia where he worked first as a practising artist in 1990 and where, since 1999, he has created and produced more than a dozen international collaborations. He is the founding artistic director of not yet it’s difficult, one of Australia’s leading interdisciplinary arts companies.
A recipient of the Sydney Myer Performing Arts Award and the Kenneth Myer Performing Arts Medal for his work as a director and actor, his direction and design have also been recognised for theatre, dance and opera by the Victorian Green Room Awards. As a writer, he has been commissioned by SBS, Sydney Opera House, Playbox Theatre, Circe Films and cinemedia, and recognised by Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards (Blowback short-listed for Louis Esson Prize for Drama) and Australian Writers Guild for New Media Writing (Eavesdrop). He is a recipient of Fellowships from the Churchill Memorial Trust and the Australia Korea Foundation and undertaken Residencies at the Centre for Art and Media (ZKM) and the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre (Asialink). He has a Diploma of Dramatic Art (Acting), NIDA, a BA (Politics, Cinema) and a MA (Asian Studies), Monash University.
As a cultural operator he works primarily as an advocate for artists creating new spaces for them to operate in. He created and managed the Arts Victoria-funded R and D Cubed program (1996-1998) and initiated the PAML Pilot Project funded by DOCITA (1998-1999). He co-founded the Melbourne-based International Network (2007-2011) and from 2009-2011 he lived in Brussels where he established the IETM-Australia Council for the Arts Collaboration Project as its Director with a curated, artist-led program. He has served on numerous industry and consultative panels at local, state and federal levels including City of Melbourne Cultural Advisory Panel (2000-2002), Arts Victoria’s Arts Leaders Reference Group (1998-2000) and Arts Innovation Panel (Chair, 2005-6). In 2005, 2006 and 2007 he attended the Performing Arts Market Seoul in Korea on behalf of the Australia Council advising on their development strategy in Asia. In 2008 he attended the 2020 Summit as a Delegate in the Creative Australia stream. He is a regular public speaker and commentator on a wide variety of arts and culture-related issues.