PROTEST SUPPLIES STORE
The Protest Supplies Store (PSS) is an artist-run organisation erected in 2017. The PSS develops subversive protest utilities and offers those - non-profit - in an online web shop, and on occasion in pop-up stores.
The store has a growing range of products which respond and correspond to different forms of protest, either as an alternative method to protest or as an supportive structure. the PSS's aim is to unlock new domains for protest; to emancipate the discourse into the contemporary - adapting to new issues and new ways of engagement in our politically complex contemporary world. The term 'protest' delineates one of the most important means of political engagement and stems from the linguistic expression of "witnessing, declaring publicly" and almost always takes place in the public space. "The public space is designed, organised and maintained by the government, and that government and its policy is precisely against which most protests are organised." (Eef Veldkamp) This makes the public domain important for protest, but at the same time problematic: it encapsulates protest within a realm completely designated by current-affairs politics.
In order to open up new, more intimate spaces in which political engagement can take place and thrive, this organisation, the Protest Supplies Store, had to take shape where protest in its current form would never work: a store. Not only because for protest one needs materials, in the same manner as one need the hardware store for construction, and as a supportive platform to the practice, but more importantly because the form 'store' is the contemporary gateway to the private, and it is in the realm of the private where opinions are shaped, politics is discussed, and the social is related to one's own life. Home, for example, is the equinox of political formulation. Henceforth it is a domain with great political potential, that in our current form of protest (massive amounts of people, publicly) is often negated, even though it houses the essential engagement that gives birth to the necessity for protest. Following this thought - and many more - The PSS offers a wide ranges of products, workshops and texts subverting and investigating protest, unveiling new forms and utilities to perform protest otherwise.
The PSS is occasionally kindly supported by public funding. Currently (2020-2021) by Stichting Stokroos, Provincie Gelderland and Stroomversneller Arnhem. www.protestsuppliesstore.co.uk
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HOME PROTEST FRIDGE MAGNETS
"Finally I can fight against sexism in the kitchen, in the kitchen!" - Mirthe Schuurman
Do you have an opinion to share but not always with the masses? Or, do you believe it is a shame you can't continue a protest at home?
Protest signs are a powerful way to convey your opinion in a way that is straight to te point. They tend to be used in public spaces. That doesn't always have to be the case. With the 'home protest fridge magnets' you can share your opinion in the comfort of your own home. Let this sign be the conversation starter for social issues that are on your mind. Convince your conservative housemate that climate change is real! Let the protest take place at your own home!
These fridge magnets are writable with whiteboard markers and thus can be used over and over again. The protest sign itself is made of cast white epoxy and spruce wood.
Concept by Mirthe Schuurman
PROTEST KLEURBOEK VOOR KINDEREN
"Protest Kleurboek voor Kinderen", Protest Supplies Store, 2021. Many of our beliefs and assumptions stem from how we came to know the world as a child. From different narratives we learn how we interact with each other, what is good and bad and sometimes even what our dreams can look like. Many well-known stories, such as Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, on the other hand, also convey many unwanted beliefs to children: a prince who kisses a princess awake without asking permission, or the romanticization of colonialism in the story of Pocahontas.
Based on this insight, the Protest Supplies Store issued an open call to illustrators and asked them to draw a colouring image in which a well-known children's story is used, but the narrative that belongs to the children's story is subverted in the context of protest. The resulting coloring book includes 19 coloring images that touch upon a wide range of contemporary issues and is made for children between 8-13 years old. The aim the colouring book is to offer a new narrative: that we can change the world and that the own development of the ideas of future generations is essential in this. The Protest Colouring Book for Children contains 19 different colouring images in A3 format.
A PROTESTERS BLOG
The Protest Supplies Store writes many articles about protest. Also hosting guest writers, these articles are on the more prevalent forms of protest and issues within the discourse.
"Borrow-A-Nip" part of Protest Supplies Store, 2020. On social media most female nipples are censored, but most men’s are not. This is an issue. Since men’s nipples are allowed, the Protest Supplies Store now offers them as nipple stickers. Apply these stickers onto your nipples, so you can take and post your nudes without any worries. Of course, these do remain stand-ins, until the female nipple is freed of censorship.
Borrow-a-Nip concerns the censorship on female bodies and to be more precise, women's nipples and the representation thereof on social media. Smart algorithms determine what we can and cannot see when we scroll through our feeds. Women's nipples, unlike men's nipples, are censored on many large online platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook. The Protest Supplies Store sees this censorship of women's bodies as a problem. The female nipple is seen as a sexual object that should remain covered, whilst the male nipple may appear free and happy, both in real-life and online. The Protest Supplies Store have developed a temporary solution for this problem. The booklet Borrow-a-Nip where men's nipples in the form stickers are lent to women, so that women can cover their wrongfully regarded 'obscene' female nipples, in order to circumvent these algorithms. Of course this is only a temporary solution and the Protest Store longs for a structural change whereby algorithms no longer determine the status quo. #borrowanip #freethenipple #protest. Read more about Borrow-a-Nip here.
The Malieveld is the most famous lawn in the Netherlands. With about 70,000 m2, the green plain in The Hague normally offers ample space for large numbers of demonstrators. The field is a stone's throw from 'The Binnenhof' - the home of the Dutch government - and is therefore the go-to protest location in the Netherlands, and is also recognised as such. Unfortunately, thanks to the 2020 Corona crisis, protesting on the Malieveld was rendered nearly impossible. The Protest Supplies Store now offers you the solution: MalieveldGras®. Seeds cultivated from the real Malieveld. You can now grow your own piece of Malieveld at home. This way you can protest in your garden, balcony or even in your local park. This project is supported by Stichting Stokroos, Schakel025 and the Province of Gelderland.
"Personalised Anonymity" part of Protest Supplies Store, 2019 is a personalised and hand made face mask. Based on a portrait of you, a multi-coloured pattern is made which will be knitted by hand with durable fabrics into a balaclava. It is a one-size-fits-all model, specifically made for you.
The balaclava is used to anonymize, but thereby deprives a personal motif while a personal motive becomes increasingly important during protest. The Protest Supplies Store aims to bring together these seemingly incompatible elements under the motto 'Personalised Anonymity'. It invites buyers to hand in a portrait (photo) which will be used to make a balaclava. The "custom balaclava" gives buyers the opportunity to purchase a fully personalized balaclava, which still guarantees full anonymity.
The term "Balaclava" comes from a village of the same name in Crimea, where the garments were first produced during the Crimean War of 1853-1856 by order of the English Army. Originally, the face masks were intended to keep the heads of the English troops warm in the colder months. Since then, the balaclava has had many functions due to its multifunctional wearing style: for example to keep yourself warm, but also for protection in racing sports, or for most notoriously for camouflage. Because it can be worn as a hat, and can cover the face in more and less sizes, the Balaclava is popular among groups for who assurance of anonymity is of importance. For example, the balaclava is widely worn by police forces, soldiers, but also to a large extent by various protest groups and activists: especially when protests scour the edge of the law and are forbidden by officials, as we have seen in 2019 in Hong Kong where protestors ran the risk of being arrested and prosecuted for exercising one of the basic democratic rights that is under pressure: freedom of expression and assembly. Protesters use the balaclava to conceal their identity, but also as an (aesthetic) denominator that connects individuals. Protests literally try to give a face to a problem, respectively; and with the balaclava that face disappears. The individual and qualitative aspect of protest is therefore jeopardized by the balaclava. Hence the Protest Supplies Store came up with this form that ensures anonymity without depriving personality, so-called "recognizable unrecognizable". #personalisedanonymity #protest. Read more about Personalised Anonymity here.
"Burn-a-Flag", Protest Supplies Store, 2018. One of the most notorious scenes one can find during protests is the burning of flags. The burning of flags is a strong ideological act, which quite literally attempts to burn a nation. Not only is this significant in terms of representation, as we know it in democracy, but also semioticly, fire is the ultimate sign of destruction but also of creation as pre-socratic philosopher Heraclitus has argued. As Judith Butler mentions in relation to contemporary protest that the act of protest is often also the demand of it, performing ones agenda. The same applies to flag burning: it speculates on bringing a nation to ashes. Perhaps for that reason burning flags is illegal in many countries, for example in Saudi-Arabia one will be beheaded for desecrating the nations flag which also implies its significance to the Saudi-Arabian government. In countries where it is legal to burn flags, for example in Europe, flags no longer burn because there is strict legislation about the flammability of materials. In other words, the flag no longer burns, and therefore within that semiotic code there is no room for change. Using the mechanisms of the arts, the Protest Supplies Store seeks sublimation for such social Gregorian knots hence it developed candles that look like flags, so that the flag once more burns, even in countries where bandaging a flag is actually illegal by law. The candles called 'Burn-a-flag' have a handy size, and also lend themselves well to burning in contexts that normally fall outside protest such as 'home'. The home is also a place of great political potential, as it is where we learn our doctrines, but also record our political opinions.
"Deface-a-Statue" part of Protest Supplies Store. 2018. Statues being defaced is one of present day most post powerful gestures of protest. Yet it is dangerous and illegal. Three stances towards the removal of problematic statues can be found. The first group argues, problematically, that we should honour the history that many of these colonial figures stand for; they see them as heroes rather than villains. On the other side of the argument two stances can be found. One stance argues that historical statues are are glorifications of bad histories, and thus they have to disappear. Others say that by removing such a signifier, the bad history can be forgotten or even denied. History is always co-produced by the present; the narrative is projected backwards. To support thinking through questions as such, without leaving the resolution unsatisfied the Protest Supplies Store now offers an alternative. With Deface-a-statue you can now deface statues at home with - which are custom and hand made, 3D printed statue. If you press a button at the bottom of this statue, it will fall, when you let the button go, the statue will rise back to its plinth. Deface-a-statue is made of strong PLA, epoxy and durable bamboo. It's sizes are 15x5x5 cm.
Pins help you to differentiate yourself from unwanted personal connotations – they protect you from undesirable reproaches. In the wide range of pseudo and semi- political amulets people wear, the unique pins of the Protest Supplies Store’s Antagonizers series, are not meant for differentiation or protection, but to start a conversation; opening up controversial domains to be interacted with on an interpersonal level. Very unrepresented, but pressingly present political topics, rather than the ‘standard’ post- modern political stances, are imaged in this series.