Disobedient Objects

Disobedient Objects is an exhibition about the art and design produced by grassroots social movements. It will show exhibits loaned from activist groups from all over the world, bringing together for the first time many objects rarely before seen in a museum.

Here we chart the process of mounting the exhibition with contributions from curators, conservators, technicians and some of the people who are lending their objects. We’ll be telling the in-depth stories behind some of the exhibits and exploring the issues and challenges raised by the exhibition with guest bloggers. We’ll also be introducing a few new disobedient objects beyond the exhibition itself.

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Around 2,300 tents have been propped up around the Central Government Offices in Admiralty, Hong Kong. The wall projection is “Add Oil Machine for HK Occupiers” by artists including Sampson Wong Yu-hin and Jason Lam, which displays support messages collected via a website they custom built. Photograph by Becky Sun. © Becky Sun

Updates from the Umbrella Movement

Many of the social and political movements that form Disobedient Objects are from global and continuing struggles. Though commencing after our exhibition’s opening, the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong is no exception. In this post we rejoin journalist Becky Sun, author of the Umbrella Movement, for an update on Occupy Centrals creative forms of resistance, […]

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The material used to decorate the truck laid out on the gallery floor.

Tiki Love Truck celebrates Day of the Dead

The Tiki Love Truck has been residing in the V&A’s Porter Gallery for the past three months as part of the Disobedient Objects exhibition. Like many of the objects in there, their uses will continue as originally intended once they are returned to their owners and back to the streets. The truck, however, won’t let being displayed in a […]

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One of the umbrellas with calligraphy by Savona Ling, outside the first “Democracy Wall” on the tall fences encircling the Civic Square in the background. Civic Square, whose name was so given in a student movement against nationalist education in 2012, was fenced off in recent months for added security to the Central Government Offices.

Umbrella Movement

New movements have grown in the time that Disobedient Objects has been open and new objects have been made. A key example is the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong where Occupy Central with Love and Peace has mobilised people in large scale protests demanding that Beijing grant Hong Kong true universal suffrage. In this blog […]

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The Vendomme Column pulled down, Paris, May 16 1871.

Art and Activism in the age of the Anthropocene

Disobedient Objects might lead us to reflect on what the future is for art and activism, or what our responsibilities are. In the essay below, artists and activist John Jordan of the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (whose Bike Bloc project is featured in the exhibition) reflects on these questions. The essay was commissioned as part […]

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Inflatable General Assembly DIY Manual - Back Page. Created by Common Practice.

‘Designing for the Common Goals of People': An Interview with Common Practice

Like many of the people occupying Zuccotti Park in 2011, the collective Common Practice contributed to their protest camp by drawing on the skills and training they knew best – architecture & design. The result was the 123Occupy project, whose model of an Inflatable General Assembly can be seen in ‘Disobedient Objects’. In this post […]

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Made Possible by Squatting on Dock St, 2013

Made Possible by Squatting: Myth, memory, mimesis

Amongst the banners in the first room of Disobedient Objects is ‘Kraken Gaat Door’ (Squatting Goes On).  This specific banner was made in the 1980s, forming part of a multi-year direct action campaign in Amsterdam.  However, this fight for affordable housing solutions is a widespread, international, and simultaneously local.  In this post, guest blogger Luther Blissett […]

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Early stages of cutting the rod and shaping it so the dolls sit at the desired angle.

Mounting Disobedient Objects

Sadly, this is my final post on the museum blog for Disobedient Objects…but before I move on to new adventures, I’d like to give you a little glimpse into more of the behind-the-scenes work involved in the run up to Disobedient Objects. I am going to focus a little bit into two very simple mounts I made prior to […]

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How to Guide: Book Bloc Shield. llustration by Marwan Kaabour at Barnbrook

Disobedient Objects How-To Guides

  Disobedient objects are often carefully designed solutions to problems faced by activists on the ground, in the midst of social and political movements around the world. The exhibition includes several take home guides on how-to make some of these objects, from Book Bloc Shields to Tear-Gas Masks.   Additionally, these How-To Guides are now available […]

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Become the Bike Bloc poster, issued during the COP 15 Climate Summit.

The Bike Bloc Sound Swarm

Disobedient Objects includes a sound piece produced by Filastine, playing out of the Bike Bloc included in the show. The sound piece combines and contrasts the sounds made by or accompanying the objects in the exhibition. You can listen to it and download it for free here:     Sound Swarm The original Bike Bloc […]

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Impressive manoeuvring through the first set of doors! (Phil, myself and Holly)

Installing the Tiki Love Truck

One of the highlights of working in the V&A’s Technical Services department is the enormous scope of projects and variety of objects we work with on a daily basis at the museum. Since joining the team in 2012, it’s been a whirlwind of excitement altogether; from couriering incredible Baroque sculptures on loan to the Musée-du-Louvre-Lens […]

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