Objects designed to support political activism including a graffiti-writing robot and a giant inflatable cobblestone made to be thrown at the police will form the focus of an exhibition opening this month at London's V&A museum.
Disobedient Objects opens at the V&A on 26 July. This highly original exhibition will demonstrate how political activism drives a wealth of design ingenuity. The exhibition will showcase forms of making that defy standard definitions of art and design, with objects on display that are mostly produced by non-professional makers, collectively and with limited resources as effective responses to complex situations. These include a variety of dolls, masks and puppets such as the tableau created by American group, The Bread and Puppet Theatre, which was used in protests against the first Gulf War.
Other objects set to feature in the show include a shiny inflatable cobblestone thrown at police by Spanish protestors in 2012 as a harmless version of a weapon traditionally used by rioters, hand-stitched textiles from Chile that document political violence and a banner created for the Unite union in the UK. Painted banners and placards featuring humorous or evocative slogans have also been selected.
Image: Inflatable cobblestone, Barcelona © Oriana Eliçabe Enmedio.info
A specially-commissioned film will explore the history of ‘lock-ons’ – simple yet ingenious blockading devices designed to attach activists to the site of protest.
Martin Roth, Director of the V&A said: “This exhibition celebrates the creative ‘disobedience’ of designers and makers who question the rules. It shows that even with the most limited of resources, ordinary people can take design into their own hands.”
Many of the exhibits have been loaned directly from activist groups from all over the world, including countries like Argentina, Canada, Germany, Italy, India and Japan to name just a few.
26 July 2014 – 1 February 2015
Victoria & Albert Museum, London