11 June 2012

Displays of Jubilation

Over the last month, one object was particularly visible at those ad hoc shops selling souvenirs.

The Union Jack flag featuring a cameo of the Queen (sporting a sunny yellow ensemble) was seen all over London through the Jubilee celebrations… second only, perhaps, to the visibility of unadulterated Union Jacks.  The way it was flown at shops and kiosks often made it seem more like a shop-front adornment than a product for sale.  In this way, the shops stood as expressions of neighbourhood celebration.  The flag also became part of an elaborate stage for the display of other things.

Another Jubilee object was particularly prominent along Tottenham Court Road.  At the three kiosks selling handbags, luggage, and souvenirs, paper Elizabeth II masks were affixed to the retractable handles of rolling suitcases.  I love how the masks seem to come alive through the angles of their placement – the little tilts of the head and position of the elastic – and how the suitcases themselves become regal – but comically dumpy – bodies for the heads above.

Although I thought these clever displays may be emulating each other, it seems these three kiosks share the same managers.  This presents an interesting set of questions about local practice, curation, and ad hoc-ness; in any case, their displays do make me smile.

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