(Dis)obedient Objects at the V&A

The exhibition entrance
The exhibition entrance

Disambiguation of disobedience.

disobedience
dɪsəˈbiːdiəns
noun
noun: disobedience
  1. failure or refusal to obey rules or someone in authority.
    “disobedience to law is sometimes justified”

These are not only objects of disobedience, these are objects of defeat and of victory, of pain and of triumph, but most of all of struggle.

They are touching, story-telling objects. They move you to tears, as much as they make you smile, and they embody in every possible way the object agency argued for so vigorously by Bruno Latour.

The danger of objects larger then their physical mass is reflected in the fact, that the museum takes on a design perspective. Expectedly, this is a seemingly fitting stance, possibly pre-determined by the very purpose of its standing as a chronicler and harp-bringer of all things design-related.

Forgoing any kind of explicit political message, staying on the save side, obviously, the exhibition let’s the objects speak. At the same time, the very fact, that they are still moving you deeply and are perfectly capable of telling the story of the human struggle, negates this imposed design-focused a-politicalness.

26 July 2014 – 1 February 2015

Entry is free.

The V&A provides you with a couple of printed How-to guides to take home and make your own ‘disobedient object.’ You can also download them here.

I also recommend the blog that accompanies the exhibition and explores individual objects exhibited and protests represented in more depth.

2014-08-03 13.53.10-1
Papier-mâché puppets from the American ‘Bread and Puppet Theater.’ The political theatre was formed in the 1960’s initially protesting against the Vietnam War and is still active today.

 

2014-08-03 15.12
The costumes and signs used by the Guerrilla Girls (formed in 1985 and still active) to protest against sexism in the art world and the under-representation of female artists in the canonic museums of the world.

 

2014-08-03 14.34.23
Examples of spoof newspapers printed and distributed to gain attention for political causes.

 

2014-08-03 14.26.49
Display of ‘book blocs.’ Signs that resemble book covers are used as shields in protests. These were first used in 2010 in Rome, Italy in student protests against budget cuts and the increase of tuition fees. You can read more about them here and here.

 

2014-08-03 14.31.21
More examples of protest signs.

 

2014-08-03 15.02.24
A bike bloc and sound installation using original sound footage from protests, as well as, sound material that responds to the exhibition.

 

2014-08-03 15.10.07

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