The wave of political uprising in recent years has made visible the inventiveness and creativity that characterizes contemporary social movements and political activism. Digital infrastructures, mundane technologies, ad-hoc architectures, and new modes of narrating and documenting are refurnishing the political practices of activists and citizens. We know that politics is not only made of discourse, on the contrary, it is made of objects and infrastructures that we should take into careful consideration. We want to draw inspiration from this insight to approach the material culture of political activism. Specifically we intend to explore the precarious condition of the improvised design of activist objects and the implication of practices of documenting and curating political materials.
Curating the Activist Object aims to approach the political life of objects drawing on theoretical approaches to politicised objects more broadly conceived. We want to explore the entanglement of practices of design, documentation and curation, as they are framed and tested by academics, curators, activists and artists. We ask in which contexts and through which dynamics these objects are designed and forged? Is the circulation of documentation what transforms an otherwise mundane object into an activist one? Is the documentation (the creation and circulation of photos, videos, websites) an activist practice in itself? Is it possible to curate and exhibit objects without disarming their distinctive political capacity?
This website is an archive that we think as an experimental site from which to explore the documentation of activist objects. In the next 6th and 7th of July of 2014 we will organized a two day workshop around this topic in the May Day Rooms in London (More information here). It continues a previous meeting held at the Victorian & Albert Museum in September 2013 [More information on the history]. If you are interested we invite you to activate your imagination in the exercise of documenting activist objects and send us a proposal.
The Activist Object is a project of the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change. Theme 4.