Disobedient Objects at the V&A

The Victoria & Albert Museum in London is to exhibit a series of items made by protest groups around the world, from giant puppets and banners to inflatable cobblestones thrown at demonstrations in Barcelona.

Inflatable cobblestone, action of Eclectic Electric Collective in co-operation with Enmedio collective during the General Strike in Barcelona, 2012

Source: Oriana Eliçabe/Enmedio.info

Inflatable cobblestone, action of Eclectic Electric Collective in co-operation with Enmedio collective during the General Strike in Barcelona, 2012

The exhibition aims to showcase objects that have been created to effect grassroots political change and are often produced by non-professional makers.

Bike Bloc Graphic Poster. Anonymous

Source: Victoria & Albert Museum

Bike Bloc Graphic Poster. Anonymous

They range from the pragmatics – such as ‘lock-on’ blockading devices designed to attach activists to protest sites – to the awareness raising – for example artist Carrie Reichartdt’s anti-death-penalty Tiki Love Truck.

The first part of the exhibition will look at activist-made objects related to four ways of protesting: direct action, speaking out, making worlds and solidarity.

Coral Stoakes, I wish my boyfriend was as dirty as your policies 2011

Source: Victoria & Albert Museum

Coral Stoakes, I wish my boyfriend was as dirty as your policies, 2011

This will include large shields used an UK anti-education-cuts protests in 2011 that were decorated to look like book covers, and a selection of hand-painted placards such as those used by Russian gay rights protestors.

Occupy London Stock Exchange, Capitalism is Crisis banner

Source: Immo Kink

Occupy London Stock Exchange, Capitalism is Crisis banner

The infrastructure of protest camps will be examined, with an inflatable assembly structure created by 123Occupy going on display, and the practicalities of building a movement will be demonstrated with a display showing how anti-Apartheid badge designs spread from South Africa to the rest of the world in the 1980s.

The final part of the exhibition will present a series of case studies of protest design from the 1970s onwards.

Andy Dao and Ivan Cash, Occupy George overprinted dollar bill 2011

Source: Andy Dao and Ivan Cash

Andy Dao and Ivan Cash, Occupy George overprinted dollar bill, 2011

This will include Masasit Mati’s Web-based comedy series, which lampoons Syria’s Assad regime using finger-puppets, and the Barbie Liberation Front’s project to swap the voiceboxes of Barbie and Ken dolls to highlight gender stereotypes in children’s toys.

The space will be hung with banners drawn from protests around the world, including the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in the UK and anti-nuclear protests in Japan.

L J Roberts, Gaybashers, Come and Get It, USA

Source: Blanca Garcia

L J Roberts, Gaybashers, Come and Get It, USA

The exhibition is curated by V&A prints curator Catherine Flood and visiting research fellow Gavin Grindon. Exhibition graphic design and marketing is being created by Barnbrook.

Disobedient Objects is at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7, from 26 July 2014-1 February 2015.

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