Ralph Borland. Suited for Subversion (Prototype). 2002

Ralph Borland Suited for Subversion (Prototype) 2002

  • Not on view

This civil-disobedience suit, to be worn by street protesters for protection against police batons, draws attention to the risks demonstrators face in order to defend their convictions. A wireless video camera mounted over the head acts as a witness, recording police action. A speaker in the center of the chest amplifies and projects the wearer’s heartbeat. In a group action, when many people are wearing these suits, the increasing heartbeats

become audible as tension and excitement mount, like a natural soundtrack arousing the crowd. At the same time, the heartbeat exposes the vulnerability of the individual and the fragility of the human body exploited as a shield—almost as a weapon—against police munitions.

Gallery label from SAFE: Design Takes on Risk, October 16, 2005–January 2, 2006
Nylon-reinforced PVC, padding, speaker, and pulse reader
47 1/4 x 31 1/2 x 23 5/8" (120 x 80 x 60 cm)
Fund for the Twenty-First Century
Object number
© 2018 Ralph Borland
Architecture and Design