As the British general election draws closer, an exhibition at the V&A looks at the role of art, architecture and design in public life
Works by Metahaven, Fat Architecture, James Bridle and Muf Architecture are on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of an exhibition that examines the role of public institutions in contemporary life, in the lead up to the UK general election next month.
The show – which opened today – comprises a series of installations, displays, events and online commissions that shed light on the interaction between design, architecture, civic identity, technology, security and the public realm.
Among them is artist and technologist James Bridle's installation, Five Eyes: a series of objects that reveal the history and present state of surveillance and state power, selected from the museum's digital records using an algorithm employed by global intelligence agencies.
Muf's More Than One (Fragile) Things at a Time, in the medieval and renaissance galleries, is an archetypal public space that contains objects from the museum's collection; a series of activities will provoke questions about the role of the objects displayed within it.
Three displays – Ways to be Secret, Ways to be Public and Civic Objects – present new acquisitions and items from the V&A's existing collection, including the hard drives that held documents leaked by Edward Snowdon and the first street light.
"What can art, design and architecture really say about the idea of civic identity, about privacy and about our lives as citizens?" said V&A director Martin Roth. "With an election approaching, people are deciding their collective futures and their individual roles in society. All of This Belongs to You is about using art, design and architecture to open up the public space of our museum as a platform for debate."
Images: Mathilde Cassini and Delfino Sisto Legnani; Adafruit; Metahaven and Meinke Klein; GSMK Gesellschaft für Sichere Mobile Kommunikation; Fairphone