Dis/obedient Objects and tactical performance

This lecture we looked at the role of obedient/disobedient objects and unpleasant design / hostile urban architecture / cruel design. I felt that this was a topic that I found really interesting but at the same time it was truly inhuman.


fig. 5 Homeless Spikes – Guangzhou – 2012

‘These obedient objects create what Timothy Mitchell calls ‘the state effect’: they are objects in which power is not ‘up there’ but enacted daily: a silent, sharp delimitation of what we accept as our public sphere.5 Policies, laws and markets may seem abstract. But they take shape in painful, designed interactions which flow through our bodies.’ (Grindon, 2015)

The one part which stood out to me was the spikes and unmoveable objects used by the government to stop homeless people sitting/lying down around certain areas. It would give intense uncomfort and potentially stop the bad image that apparently homeless people portray if they are outside a certain shop. I have seen these before and I find it completely inhuman. It is as if the homeless are being treated like animals/vermin as I see similarities between the two. I look at the spikes that are left out to prevent pigeons sitting/shitting/dying outside houses and in seems completely excessive.

Later in the lecture we looked at ‘The Umbrella Movement’ and how the symbol of the umbrella became identified as the representing freedom, unity and resistance against the Hong Kong Police and government.It was seen as a disobedient object which as well as being a symbol for Hong Kong people, it also worked as a protective weapon against the gas that the police attacked them with. Thus making it the ideal symbol/object to use in the situation. (Grindon, 2015)


Fig. 6 Symbol for the Umbrella Movement

Gavin Grindon (2015) ‘The Museum of Cruel Designs at Banksy’s Dismaland’ Available at: http://gavingrindon.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Gavin-Grindon-Cruel-Designs-atDismaland.pdf

Figure 5. Imagine China (2012) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2168175/Are-lethal-concrete-spikes-stop-beggars-sleeping-city-bridges-REALLY-Chinas-best-option-stop-homeless-problem.html (Accessed 5.12.2016)

Figure 6. Symbol for the Umbrella Movement (2014) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umbrella_Movement (Accessed 5.12.2014)

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