Objects, unique in their own way. Being transformed by the creator to be used as a visual weapon for sociological, economic and political change. Some seemingly ordinary, others unusual, but all just as creatively used. Disobedient Objects (2014).
I found the entrance captivating as it comprises a modern darkly lit style compared to the rest of the V&A’s displays. Many issues are displayed such as sexism in art by the Guerrilla Girls to Phone Story, a banned app by Molleindustria dealing with the issues of electronic consumerism.
A wall of stencil spray painted faces caught my eye, which were “assembled and designed by Zaher Omareen and Ibrahim Fakhri” (Disobedient Objects, 2014). A recreation of graffiti used for “commemorating Syrian martyrs” (Flood, C. Grindon, G. 2014, p.109)
Hasan Khzam was one of the original artists who created a stencil of Ghaith Matter, a Syrian activist who believed in non-violent protest and died under torture after his arrest in Damascus (Flood, C. Grindon, G. 2014, p.109).
Another protest that intrigued me was the idea of “lock-on devices”; it is a way to use your body as the barrier between a person and their goal (barricading fences, machinery and building work). The lock-on example in the exhibition uses a metal pole mechanism to lock your arm in; this prevented removal because there was a possibility of sawing through the activists arm.
The broad use of materials is one of the paramount parts about this exhibition. This is due to the fact the designers have crafted their objects out of what they could get their hands on.
The curation reflects the DIY culture by using both woodchip boards and scaffolding to display the work. This makes the hall look very contemporary and adds to the atmosphere of the exhibition. The entrance is decorated with white illustrations of barriers through the ages on a black background which stands out against the classical look of the V&A. The Disobedient Objects sign is made out of a metal fence and bright green security tags which is bold in front of the black.
The pacing is extremely fast due to everything being placed in one large room; my only issue with this is that the objects are a little close to each other. For example the Tiki Love Truck was in front of the projector, the stencil faces and another video screen. This prevented me from looking at the objects separately as they all intruded each other’s space.
I purchased the Disobedient Objects book (Flood, C. Grindon, G. 2014) which I have mixed feelings about. Looking through it there are wonderful images and information; however most of the information given isn’t about the main objects in the exhibition. The durability of the book seems pretty low due to the binding. Although the paperback stitching is aesthetically pleasing it seems weak.
Over all I think the exhibition is excellent, it is very unique compared to the rest of the V&A and has a lot of insight to the world of politics and rebellion. Although there are some issues, like the lack of space, as a whole the exhibition works and is full of intriguing sights.
Flood, C. Grindon, G. (2014) Disobedient Objects. London: V&A Publishing.
Disobedient Objects (2014) [exhibition]. V&A, London. 26 July 2014-1 February 2015.