Disobedient Objects and The Big Data Virality of Protest

Finally got to see the Disobedient Objects exhibit housed in the V&A.
It is very refreshing encountering this exhibit in amongst so many obedient objects of power – all that hegemonic marble and stone, wedding dresses and fine jewelry set against the insurgent reappropriation of raw material and junk. Great example of the appropriation of the desire for change by social invention.

Here’s a link to review in the Guardian, which also picks up on the irony of this encounter with the art of protest in the V&A.

Readers of this blog might also be interested in John Beieler’s contribution (more hi tech than raw material); an example of big data virality (see below and for a much better version click here).

Other highlights amongst the placards and papier-mâché puppets include the inflatable cobblestones used in Barcelona, Andy Dao and Ivan Cash’s Occupy George, Carrie Reichhardt’s Tiki Love Truck, and video projections of key protests like the Battle for Cancun. Recommended.

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About Virality

Tony D. Sampson is Reader in Digital Culture and Communications at the University of East London. He has a PhD in social-cultural-digital contagion theory from the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. He is a former art student who re-entered higher education in the UK as a mature student in the mid-1990s after a long stint as a gigging musician. His career in education has moved through various disciplines and departments, including a maths and computing faculty, sociology department and school of digital media and design His publications include The Spam Book, coedited with Jussi Parikka (Hampton Press, 2009), Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks (University of Minnesota Press, 2012), The Assemblage Brain: Sense Making in Neuroculture (University of Minnesota Press, 2016) and Affect and Social Media (Rowman and Littlefield, July 2018). He is organizer and host of the Affect and Social Media conferences in the UK. As a co-founder and co-director of the public engagement initiatives, Club Critical Theory (CCT) and the Cultural Engine Research Group (CERG), Sampson has developed a number of funded research projects and public events that aim to bring impactful critical theories into the community and local political sphere to approach a series of local challenges. These activities have included large conferences co-organized with local authorities looking at a range of policies relating to the revitalization of the Essex costal region, developments in the cultural industries as well as a series of community focused events on food cultures and policy, collaborations with arts groups and informal lectures/workshops in pubs and community centres. Director of the EmotionUX Lab at UEL. He occasionally blogs at: https://viralcontagion.wordpress.com/ Full academic profile: https://www.uel.ac.uk/Staff/s/tony-sampson
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