You’re out on a protest and you need to be prepared. You never know when the tear gas will start flying, and when you might have to make a new sign.
That’s why you need B. Super Utility Belt, a product designed just for protesting purposes. It has a gas mask, a sign-making kit, a roll of duct tape, a credit card-sized first aid box, and a mustache disguise (because the cameras are sure to be watching). There’s even a lemon juice maker (because lemon juice is a good antidote to the inevitable tear gas).
The belt was created by Damon Ahola and Richard Clarkson for an masters class at the School of Visual Arts, in New York. It was inspired by super-hero comics, and is meant to look like Batman’s tool-belt (though his was yellow). It’s also not completely serious–more like a comment on what a protester’s belt product might look like than a real attempt at creating one.
“We were trying to bring through an element of lightheartedness to it,” says Clarkson. “We were trying to be respectful of protesters, but at the same time pushing the boundaries of what would be fun. Riding that line was interesting for us.”
“We never saw this a product that would be out there,” Ahola adds. “It was more a product that would encourage discourse around protesting and consumerism. In fact, we were asking ‘should this be a product at all?'”
That hasn’t stopped people taking the idea seriously, and Clarkson and Ahola have been getting some blowback. A post at Verge.com, for example, got a universal down-vote from commenters. One wrote: “This is designed for hipsters protesting the closure of their local Starbucks, right?”
Clarkson and Ahola aren’t too bothered. And in fact we tend to think the belt isn’t such a bad idea. If it really is respectful to the protesters of Tahrir Square and Gezi Park, and useful as well, what’s the problem?