An absolutely fabulous looking exhibition is set to take place at the V&A from 26th July on ‘the powerful role of objects in movements for social change’.
Curated by Catherine Flood and Gavin Grindon, it is a look at the material world of protest events, long ignored by those theorizing the nature of social movements. Although there is a rich history of banner-making in the trade union movement, little has been done to link up this obviously creative, material work and more recent innovative object-making. The exhibition therefore includes:
…finely woven banners; defaced currency; changing designs for barricades and blockades; political video games; an inflatable general assembly to facilitate consensus decision-making; experimental activist-bicycles; and textiles bearing witness to political murders.
These comprise the ‘augmented reality’ of protest events. That is to say, they are necessary appendages. Without an array of material items social movements lack the ability to amplify phenomena, transform worlds and build alternative knowledges. They allow protesters and activists to test the limits of opposing forces in a spatial form. Above all, they are tactics for expressing beliefs. No social movement can exist without a fine inventory of playful, visual, sonic, material and ‘disobedient’ objects.
The exhibition will run until 1st February 2015. You can follow updates on the exhibition blog here.
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