Disobedient Objects

V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum)

26 July 2014 – 1 February 2015

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Objects loaned directly from activist groups across the world reveal how protest inspires design ingenuity.

Spanning from the 1970s to the present day, exhibits defy traditional definitions of art and design. Mostly produced by non-professionals, as a collective and with limited resources, they include appropriated everyday objects, traditionally crafted materials and hacked technology.

Chilean folk art textiles document political violence, while a robot has been programmed to write graffiti. There's also giant inflatable cobblestones that were thrown at demonstrations in Barcelona and a political video game about the making of mobile phones. Many of these objects have never been seen in a museum display.

Each design is accompanied by the maker’s statement to explain how and why it was created. Further context is provided by newspaper cuttings, how-to guides and film content – including footage of them in action.

Additionally, the entire gallery will be hung with banners from well-known protest sites such as the 1980s Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp and the anti-nuclear demonstrations in Japan.

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The display features objects from nearly every major protest movement in the last 40 years. There are hand-painted placards made by gay rights activists in Russia in 2012, defaced currency used by the Occupy Movement in the US to spread facts about economic disparity and a makeshift tear gas mask from the 2013 Istanbul protests.

These are joined by anti-Apartheid badge designs from the 1980s and jewellery created by members of the Black Panther party while in prison and sent out to supporters. Meanwhile a data-visualisation maps every protest since 1979.

Venue information

Opening times

Daily, 10am – 5.45pm (Fri until 10pm)

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