Disobedient Objects

In response to the Hong Kong protests which took place in 2015, this installation was created to try and capture the spirit of the protesters in the Umbrella Revolution along with demonstrating the design of a inter-changeable system created for the purpose of being used in a protest with umbrellas.

Collaborating with Peter Smith, the project was an insightful experience as we witnessed the events in Hong Kong unfold over in England. The brief had asked for a Disobedient Object from a protest to be chosen and re-appropriated, in this case the Umbrella was the object that had been chosen. The Umbrella had become the symbol of the protests, as when showers of tear gas rained down on the protesters, the Umbrellas they had been using to protect themselves from the sun, became shields against the police.

The symbol was clear and the message was powerful, yet the object wasn't.

Coming up with a system which would make the umbrellas more of an effective defence tool in the protest proved to be a complicated task. Multiple factors limited what would be more appropriate for a protest situation. The first being the accessibility and cost of the material had to be low, meaning that it could be gathered easily and at an affordable price.

Velcro and staples were the only two materials required as it in the Hong Kong protests, Umbrellas were already in abundance. By simply placing the opposite side of the velcro stripes around the panels, with a few staples holding the stripes in place. The umbrellas were able to be locked together in a universal manor, allowing for infinite number of customisable shapes.

The pictorial instructions generated used the language of colour to explain the items needed and the process to apply the principle. To create a leaflet with no words on was necessary to overcome various language barriers.

As the project was initiated by the Disobedient Objects exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. When one of the organisers came to view our interim show, the piece was fortunate enough to be selected to be featured at the museum.

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