The Art & Design of Protest
August 20, 2014 5:48 PM   Subscribe

The Victoria & Albert Museum is hosting Disobedient Objects, an exhibit on 'out-designing authority.'

The exhibits include:
Bike Bloc Sound Swarm
Red square solidarity
Making lock-ons with Greenpeace

Don't miss the how-to guides:
Makeshift Tear Gas Mask[PDF]
Bucket Pamphlet Bomb[PDF]
Bike Bloc[PDF]
Lock-On Devices[PDF]
Book Bloc Shield[PDF]
Clandestine Syrian Stencil[PDF]

And events like Making Trouble And Influencing People at this month's 'Friday Late', and other events.

The London Evening Standard: Activist art may make for a moving show but the museum’s new approach to collecting is truly radical
Times Higher Education: Knit Your Own Revolution
The New York Times: A History of the Now, Found in Politically Charged Objects - Victoria and Albert Museum Pushes Boundaries of Collecting
BBC: 'Disobedient objects' chart history of protest at V&A
The Guardian: Tools of protest: Disobedient Objects, the V&A's subversive new show
The Daily Beast: Why The Left Protests Better

Protest By Design
There’s no party like a tea party, right? We’re not talking about right-wing conservative Republicans, we’re talking about the kind the Suffragettes held in halls and rooms across the country, where tea was poured from slogan laden teapots demanding VOTES FOR WOMEN. These objects are just one example of the paraphernalia and design objects on display at the V&A’s Disobedient Objects exhibition, investigating how political activists have employed design and creativity to agitate for change since the beginning of the 20th century.

Exhibition co-curators Gavin Grindon and Catherine Flood choose their five highlights from the show.
The V&A’s Catherine Flood on co-curating Disobedient Objects

Mounting Disobedient Objects
posted by the man of twists and turns (6 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Wow, utterly fascinating! Too bad they couldn't feature the hard-disks that MI6 (?) destroyed over the Snowden revelations/ coverage.

Glad this is on till Feb 2015; will be sure to check this out if I'm in London later this year!
posted by the cydonian at 7:08 PM on August 20, 2014

Terrific post, tmott; thank you. I liked this, from the linked Guardian article:
"We wanted to show the collective power these domestic objects can have when grabbed and repurposed with political intent," says Gavin Grindon, co-curator of Disobedient Objects, an exhibition that gathers together tools of protest from around the world. While shows of activist art are not uncommon, this is the first major exhibition to focus on the actual instruments of direct action. As co-curator Catherine Flood says, "It is design taken out of the hands of designers." As such, it has a refreshingly frank power, a collection of tools made or redeployed for specific – and often desperate – ends.
The V&A's "Disobedient Objects" blog is a gem, and I appreciated this comment about the difficulties of facing down the inflatable cobblestone, from its creator, Artúr van Balen:
It is especially interesting when you can create decision dilemmas with the objects and your opponent needs to decide what to do. In case of the cobblestones, the riot police at the May Day demonstration in Berlin decided to get rid of the inflatable by piercing it. They had problems with the slippery surface of the material and the scene this created was hilarious: everyone saw how a highly armed squad of riot cops tried to destroy a balloon. In Spain, protesters documented how two policemen arrested an inflatable and squeezed the bulky thing in a van.
Looking forward to exploring the material you've shared here -- thanks again.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:44 AM on August 21, 2014

Well that's my Saturday afternoon sorted out. Thanks .
posted by antiwiggle at 5:58 AM on August 21, 2014

The Red square solidarity link about the Quebec student protest reminded me also of their use of "casseroles", the Quebecois version of the tradition of cacerolazo.

Somewhat along that same theme, earlier this year EuroMaidan protesters donned pots and colanders as make-shift helmets in response to a government ban on masks and helmets.

Also, Maidan Pianos.

Love the Book Bloc Shield.
posted by Kabanos at 1:51 PM on August 21, 2014

I would call these "objects of disobedience." This is a disobedient object. (Or this.)
posted by Rangi at 5:12 PM on August 22, 2014

Tools for Action - "Art is not a mirror for society, but a hammer with which to shape it."
Carbon Bubble
Inflatable BT Brinjal
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:01 AM on August 26, 2014

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