DisObs Review

I always feel some kind of happiness when something in life makes me realize how design and creative thinking is there in the world everywhere and how people’s needs and hopeless times can create fabulous solutions.

V&A’s Disobedient Objects exhibition is one of these occasions when an unexpected topic opens the eyes of the visitor to the fact; design is everywhere.

First of all I’d like to clarify I haven’t checked the description of the exhibition before I visited so I had no idea what sort of objects I will be educated about. As I interpreted disobedient objects are not only the objects protesters created during the past 50 years but also the protesters themselves and their beliefs.

We know protests are statements or actions expressing disapproval of or objection to something. We might also know that demonstrations of one country usually have effect on other nation’s people who are against some kind of governmental rule or law. These riots can -and did- lead to even ending political systems and also lead to many participants’ death and injuries. Protesting is the primary tool of ending the soviet system in Europe for example, also is important and eye-opening step that citizens can take together to stand for their rights in most of the world’s countries.

So for keeping their bodies and lives safe protesters had to keep inventing more and more useful tools and find better and better solutions to protect themselves. These are the objects we see throughout the room in V&A, each of them demonstrate a date and a place where citizens went against political systems or decisions. However the room is quite small for first glance, to understand and process what the visual-heavy stations stand for can take time. Seeing the icons of these fights and constantly hear the voices of the street demonstrations (through a video on a huge screen) can be overwhelming feeling but definitely makes the effect on the visitor- at least it did on me. At the end of my one hour that I’ve spent there (however I could have spent more) I realized how many more protests and demonstrations we had in Europe in the past 10 years compared to the past 50 years.

 

However nowadays we can easily access to the information of any current resistance all around the world and for this reason it’s easier to be affected, I’m not sure about the effectiveness of protests, although I’m quite sure whenever thousands of disgruntled people want to stand up and fight for their rights they will find the best tools for reaching their aims even if these will be posters, masks, antacid or else.

 

Future of the Past

{This post is based on the ‘The history of the future’ lecture.}

While the world of technology is busy future-telling what the next big invention of our time will be, we tend to forget how previous eras faced the same shock whenever something changed in technology, industry or economics that affected their lifestyle situations.

Alvin Toffler, an American writer and futurist argues ‘ […the hope was that] the computer would simplify decision making… But it complexifies everything, so you have to make more complex decisions anyway.’ And that’s the first time I’m actually considering what life could have been before computers got invented and data, web and API’s invaded our everyday life.

As Toffler argues, having future shock by relocating in time is just like having culture shock by relocating in space. Future shock might be a less common name but defines perfectly what my grandmother experienced when she got her first Windows phone last year. Especially for the population of a country that was locked out for decades until ’89 coming back to life and realising that the world has passed by and our nation stayed on the exact same level of life quality than it has been before – it’s even harder to catch up with the other countries.

The whole future shock theory reminds me of the movie Goodbye Lenin! where a lady who was in coma for months or years wakes up and her son puts every effort into making her believe the Soviet Union still exists and operates to save her from another heart attack.

But nowadays you don’t necessarily have to skip months of your life to be surprised how the world is changing so quickly. Just think of how 3d printers appeared on the market a few years ago along with drones and now scientists are printing human organs and governments are regulating drone usage in most of the countries.

Nicholas Negroponte, American-Greek architect in his 1984 TED Talk emphasises the importance of a couple devices his team had been working on. It’s amazing to see the first prototypes of touchscreen devices from ’84. He also talks about how a certain change of technology requires changes in education that will make a huge impact on children with special needs, children from developing countries, or studying disorders as well. I can’t agree with him more. There is a tendency of involving more and more kids into coding and technological studies.

 

This kind of initiative allows the upcoming generations to get involved, well actually to create our future technological inventions and accommodate to any kind of changes even sooner than parents did.