Alex Vasudevan writes to alert me to this all-too-relevant site, Agamben Toys or Toys for the State of Exception…
Most of the baubles on offer are decidedly for play in the global North, but for older kids with global (in)sensibilities there’s always this model Predator…. and plenty more like it (for example here and here). Commentary – and comments (you’ll see what I mean) – here and (from Infowars) here.
Toys appeared in a radically different way in an exhibition at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA) earlier this year called State of Exception:
LSA Professor of Anthropology Jason De León has spent long hours in the Sonoran environs, cataloging and collecting the items migrants leave behind as they attempt to cross into the United States. Water jugs. Shoes. Small kids’ toys. It looks like trash, but these objects, collected through his Undocumented Migrant Project (UMP), become data to help construct a record of people who are unknown, whose journeys rarely come to light.
Many of these objects are now on display through LSA’s Institute for the Humanities exhibit titled State of Exception. This exhibit considers the complexity and ambiguity of the found objects and what they may or may not reveal in terms of transition, human experience, culture, violence, and accountability.
This is the first major curation of De León’s work since UMP began in 2009, and is a combination of objects, installation, and video shot by photographer Richard Barnes along the U.S./Mexico border.
The exhibition closed earlier this month but you can still access the catalogue/brochure online here.
All of this reminds me that there’s a reason we spell ‘us’ the way we do…