Disobedient Objects

Author(s): Catherine Flood

Art History

Disobedient Objects is about out-designing authority. It explores the material culture of radical change and protest - from objects familiar to many, such as banners or posters, to the more militant, cunning or technologically cutting-edge, including lock-ons, book-blocs and activist robots. Where previous social movement histories have focused on large-scale events, strategies or biographies, this book - and the exhibition it accompanies - shows how objects themselves can be revolutionary. Focusing on social movements since 1980, the book features an introductory essay by the curators examining the history of objects in protest and activism, followed by six essays that look at particular objects, and the contexts in which they are used. Interspersed throughout are images of the objects at work, along with a selection of how-tos covering specific objects from a design perspective. This is a manifesto for experimental alternative design, showing how objects can define encounters and inspire activists. Accompanies the V&A exhibition Disobedient Objects, 26 July 2014 to 1 February 2015


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Catherine Flood is a Prints Curator in the Word and Image Department at the V&A. and author of British Posters: Advertising, Art & Activism (V&A, 2012). She has curated exhibitions and displays at the V&A on subjects including propaganda, Victorian sentimentality, and satire in fashion. In 2009, she coordinated Designing Democracy, a research project on posters produced during the collapse of communism in Europe. Gavin Grindon is Visiting Research Fellow at the V&A and Postdoctoral Fellow in Visual and Material Culture at Kingston University. He has published in the Oxford Art Journal, Third Text, Art History and Radical Philosophy; co-authored A User's Guide to Demanding the Impossible (2011); and is currently preparing a monograph on art and activism.

Introduction - Catherine Flood & Gavin Grindon - 26 Barricades as Material and Social Constructions - Mark Traugott - 34 The Disobedient Objects of Protest Camps - Anna Feigenbaum - 44 Making Worlds 52 From Tute Bianche to the Book Bloc - Francesco Raparelli - 60 Direct Action 68 On the Phenomenology of Giant Puppets - David Graeber - 78 Unpopular Pamphlets - Nicholas Thoburn - 86 Speaking Out 100 Disobedient Bodies: Art Activisms in Argentina - Ana Longoni - 110 Solidarity 118 A Multitude of Struggles 130 Roundtable 137 Further Reading 138 Endnotes 142 Index 144 Picture Credits 144 Acknowledgements

General Fields

  • : 9781851777976
  • : V & A Publishing
  • : V & A Publishing
  • : July 2014
  • : United Kingdom
  • : August 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Catherine Flood
  • : Paperback
  • : 745.2
  • : 144
  • : illustrations (black and white, and colour)