V&A goes green: Supporting Extinction Rebellion with a new display

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The Victoria and Albert, V&A, Museum in London has announced something new: they’ve newly acquired work that supports the movement of Extinction Rebellion (XR).

The group is known for their non-violent demonstrations of civil disobedience and disruption, who’ve busied themselves since 31 October 2018, urging the UK government to declare a climate and ecological emergency and commit to reduce emissions to net zero by 2025. They have grown into an international movement with over 363 groups active in 59 countries around the world.

And now, the V&A is putting them on show. Given by the Extinction Rebellion Arts Group, a coalition of graphic designers, artists and activists responsible for XR’s Design Programme, the objects reveal how XR has harnessed the power of open-source design to develop a coherent and impactful visual identity and sought to foster a collaborative ‘do-it-together’ movement recognisable across the globe.

The objects have been acquired through the V&A’s Rapid Response Collecting programme that enables the acquisition and immediate display of design objects that address questions of social, political, technological and economic change.

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The collection includes:

  • A digital file of the Extinction Symbol – the logo designed by east-London artist ESP in 2011 and adopted by XR in 2018
  • The Extinction Symbol website where the symbol is available for download for non-commercial use
  • The first printed pamphlet issued by XR group outlining its ‘Declaration of Rebellion’. The immediate popularity of these pamphlets makes this example from the first print-run extremely rare, while the screen-printed text and graphics outline the emphasis XR placed on a coherent and impactful visual identity from the outset
  • A digital file outlining XR’s open-source Design Programme, including the Extinction Symbol, Extinction Rebellion woodblock type and other graphics and materials for download. The open-source materials encouraging people to get involved in the creative process reflects the group’s ‘do-it-together’ ethos while ensuring a consistency of message and coherent visual identity for the international movement
  • Two printing blocks – a 3D-printed Extinction Rebellion logotype block and the Extinction Symbol made of machine-cut ply. The blocks were used during a series of public design workshops staged by the XR Arts Group in autumn 2018 and spring 2019 where people made their own protest flags, posters and banners
  • A green, blue and pink flag featuring the block-printed Extinction Symbol designed to create a high-impact sea of colour amidst the crowds
  • Six brightly coloured screen-printed patches bearing the group’s slogans including ‘Tell the Truth’, Rebel for Life’ and ‘Beyond Politics. Small in scale they are designed to be worn by XR ‘rebels’ as a quick and easy way to show allegiance during mass protest.

See more about sustainability at the V&A here.

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