Portable Protest - Casey's Pawns installation

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Date: 2006
Ref: 0316
Materials: 50 military combat suits, gold foil silkscreen print, leather, felt, wooden head pieces and original Lambda colour photographs of the intervention at the Victoria & Albert Museum
Dimensions: Installation comprised of 50 suspended suits, dimensions variable
Exhibition history: 2007 Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich, Switzerland; 11th Prague Quadrennial of Performance and Theatre, Prague, Czech Republic; 2006 Centraal Museum Utrecht, Holland; Franco Sofiantino Gallery, Turin, Italy; 2006 6th Gwangju Biennale, South Korea; 2004 Vic
Courtesy: Lucy + Jorge Orta and Collection Luigi Franco, Turin

Portable Protest is a response to the invasion of the city of Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. The work was first commissioned by the Victoria & Albert Museum London for a performance held on 25 June 2004, five days before the hand-over of sovereignty to the Iraqi government and the start of the withdrawal of US and allied forces. Lucy Orta invited fifty volunteers to stage a passive protest in the museum galleries amidst the tombs, sepulchres and war trophies from historical battles and combats. For over two hours the performers silently meditated the future fate of Iraq and its citizens.

The work subsequently toured in a static installation-format to the 6th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea. Gwangju is famous for the student protests against the dictatorial regime and is now a symbol of the country’s pro-democracy resistance – a movement that holds special poignancy in light of the political situation that still divides the peninsula.