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27 · 03 · 2018

The Operators and the Targets – Rune Peitersen at Kraków Photomonth

Danish photographer Rune Peitersen shows drones from two sides at Kraków Photomonth



The exhibition “The Operators and the Targets” by Danish artist Rune Peitersen will be part of the international festival Kraków Photomonth. “The Operators and the Targets” presents a striking, and chilling, reality, by juxtaposing the viewpoint of military drones with the viewpoint of their potential victims on the ground. Rune Peitersen’s exhibition is a part of this year’s main programme, Space of Flows: Framing an Unseen Reality.


The world as a space of flows

Iris Sikking (NL), curator, photo historian and academic tutor, has curated Space of Flows. She describes how we have gone from occupying a “space of places” to a “space of flows”, and precisely that condition constitutes the theme of the 2018 Kraków Photomonth.


“It is our shared experience that we are all part of an enmeshed whole that provokes and confronts us on a near-daily basis with events unfolding in faraway locales. As we take note of them via our screens in the form of a tweet, an image, or a video they evade traditional geographic boundaries and notions of localness.”

Iris Sikking


This overarching theme have been divided into three subcategories: migration, digital data, and environmental issues. Different aspects of these subjects are addressed in the photographs, with anxiety and fear for looming catastrophes running through most of them, as a nervously vibrating red line.


Follow this link for the full curatorial statement


Rune Peitersen: “The Operators and the Targets”

The exhibition will open in April in Contemporary Art Gallery Bunkier Sztuki in Kraków, where it will last until the festival’s closing in June. Rune Peitersen will take part in the opening and later on in the festival’s master talk. Here he will present his works in a broader context, talk about his experience and artistic practice, and answer the audience’s questions.



Read about other exciting Danish Cultural Institute photographic art projects



His work “The Operators and the Targets” depicts two sides of drone warfare: the drones themselves, as seen from the ground, and the people targeted by the drones, as they appear before the drone operators. It tries to describe the relation between the operators and the targets, and how these influence each other through the physical presence of the drones.

Using available online U.S. military promotional and drone combat videos, I try to show the humane and visual grey areas involved in the drone killing system; e.g. the dehumanization which occurs when warfare is reduced to a combination of constant surveillance and a predator vs. prey "hunt", and the role and impact of surveillance technology and imagery as an intermediary between the operators and their targets.
Rune Peitersen

Rune Peitersen

Rune Peitersen lives and works in Amsterdam (NL) and Brussels (BE). In 1999 he received his BA from the Royal Academy in The Hague and in 2001 his MA from the Frank Mohr Institute in Groningen. Peitersen’s work has been exhibited internationally and he has received awards from the Mondriaan Foundation. Next to his artistic practice, Peitersen teaches at the St. Joost Art Academy, regularly lectures on his work and is a cofounder of several artists’ initiatives among which the think-tank Platform Beeldende Kunst (Platform for Visual Arts).


In his work Rune Peitersen questions the role of the observer in relation to the observed. Peitersen’s imagery often quotes from art history. Themes such as the romantic landscape or clair-obscure aesthetics are often employed as stylistic tools, used to both lure the viewer in as well as to wrong-foot him. Although based on a notion of photographic ‘reality’ or ‘authenticity’, his images always reveal themselves as highly constructed – like the reality they are perceived to represent.


Kraków Photomonth

Kraków Photomonth has taken place each year since it started in 2001. It began as an event primarily situated across cafés and the like. As it grew it changed venues, opting for a more post-industrial scenery as a backdrop for the photographs. The placing of the exhibitions is not the only aspect that has changed over the years. In 2006 the programme was divided into a national section, a main programme and the OFF programme for upcoming photographers. 2011 saw the national section being scrapped, while OFF had been revamped under the new name ShowOFF. In the following years different experimental approaches to curating the main programme was tried out.


Now in its 16th edition, coming of last year’s jubilee, Kraków Photomonth has truly become a recognized international festival. It provides a platform for both homegrown artists and stars from abroad, young newcomers and established names. By giving different curators great autonomy, the festival remains a room for experiments. And by organizing talks and meetings in connection to the exhibitions, it creates a stimulating environment for people interested in photography and the theory and practice surrounding it.



Danish Cultural Institute is the project’s partner. Kraków Photomonth receives support from The Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and Griffin Art Space and is organized by The Foundation for Visual Arts.


Exhibition The Space of Flows: Framing an Unseen Reality

April 13th – June 24th, 2018

Contemporary Art Gallery Bunkier Sztuki

plac Szczepański 3A, Kraków



Photos and video: Rune Peitersen, Kraków Photomonth