Walking into the Disobedient Objects exhibition felt like entering a self published magazine, where the content’s been created by anyone who can get a hold of the right elements and glue. The, fairly small, exhibition space was filled with various objects that can be found around the house but combined with drawings, fabrics and text to form a message. Which is what Disobedient Objects at the V&A Museum is all about. It shows how anyone can create art and be a part of the design world, while going against it. The art was not made by the commercial designers but by people taking design into their own hands.
I found a lot of elements that has been used out in the field, in protests such as mask, homemade gas masks and painted as books cardboards used as shields. The book blocs came about for the first time in Italy, when a group ot students used mock books as banners and shields in 2010. The books are often used by students protesting against education cuts, with the mock literature implying the harm made on not the individuals but the education and free thoughts.
After a few strolls around the mosaic decoration pickup truck I ended up in front of the Barbie Liberation Organization video and found myself watching it three times over. The short film, which came about in 1993, shows the group behind the name’s message about anti-sexism.They purchased Barbie- and G.I. Joe dolls only to perform a surgery, swapping out the voice boxes and then return them to the store. These dolls were then sold once again and B.L.O’s media prank had started. Children buying the bulky action figure, expecting him to shout out war talk like “ATTACK!” was instead met by a high pitched voice asking them to go shopping!
”Hi, I’m teen talk Barbie, the spokes doll for the B.L.O. that stands for the Barbie Liberation Organization. We’re an international group of children’s toys that are revolting against the companies that made us. We’ve turned against our creators because they use us to brainwash kids.”, B.L.O.
This was to start a conversation about the strict gender roles we live by today, where kids are taught “how to be a boy” and “how to be a girl”… and B.L.O. wanted to get credit for it, leaving every doll with a leaflet about the organization. The prank didn’t gain the group too many allies though, some claimed that is was a “cheap shot” terrorizing the children, no matter how noble the message is.
But more than anything, I found myself taken by the room itself. Gavin Grindon, co-curator of the exhibition and the rest of the Disobedient Objects team has created an artwork in itself with the display of its pieces. It’s like I’m standing in the aftermath of a zine, where everything just seems to be everywhere. It’s inspiring and I feel like I’m a part of it – or at least I could be!
I look around my own room and my ordinary objects, thinking that they could become something extraordinary.