Disobedient Objects as Cultural Expression

2nd February 2015  |  News

On Friday I went to visit an exhibition at the V&A named Disobedient Objects (running 26 July 2014- 1 February 2015). The exhibition was made up of a collection of objects from the 1970s to present day that were used to aide social movements around the world. The display of art and designs made resourcefully by grassroots groups highlighted the centrality of culture in movements advocating social change.

The exhibition demonstrated the power of unity in symbolic form, one particularly vibrant example were the banners hung from the ceiling of the space. Marchers on protests throughout the 19th century have used colourful banners and although they have changed forms alongside technology, for example, from hand sewn and woven banners to digitally scanned images, they have retained a symbolic cultural dimension. By looking at the banners we are able to gain a deeper understanding of the culture of each social movement as they embody beliefs, feelings and values of a particular movement.(Jasper, 1999, p.12) Through the banners we can also see the physical resources and strategies employed by the protestors on the demonstrations.(Jasper, 1999, p.12)

By displaying different types of objects from political video games, defaced currency and art works the exhibition demonstrated the cultural historian M. Jasper’s point that moral protestors through cultural creativity in their campaigns, can, like artists, be seen as ‘the cutting edge of society’s understanding of itself as it changes’.(Jasper, 1999, p.13) Thus the ‘Disobedient Objects’ exhibition not only gave us a fascinating view of the past it also raised the question; with ever-advancing technology, what resources will be used as a cultural symbol in the future?10967049_10153603637023378_1768631360_n


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