A group of soldiers appear to be waiting endlessly on a frontline position in Eastern Ukraine. When you close your eyes, a violent soundscape emerges.
By the spring of 2017, the Russo-Ukrainian war had evolved into a largely static conflict with long phases of limited combat activity. At this time, when most international media channels had lost interest in the conflict, Dani Ploeger travelled to Mariupol to accompany a group of soldiers during their daily activities on the frontline. He documented the seemingly endless waiting that often occurred at their positions.
This waiting did not constitute a state of boredom though. Rather, it felt like a lasting situation of solidified dread, a slow tension that expressed an awareness that violence could erupt any time, the imagination of combat always present inside one’s head. Indeed, five years later, this tension has been succeeded by the full scale violent cataclysm of the Russian invasion.
Line of Contact reprocesses the 360 video footage I made during this journey (previously used in “frontline”, 2017). When you put on the VR headset, you see soldiers around you, waiting in a damaged rural backyard. Quiet environmental sounds are audible. Behind you, you encounter my gaze while I hold the camera. The situation lasts endlessly – the footage consists of a constellation of individual micro loops – as long as you continues to watch. However, the moment you close your eyes, a war soundscape erupts, produced in a cinematic sound studio with close-range recordings of weapons used in the Russo-Ukrainian war. When you open your eyes again, the waiting returns.