Local artists and campaigners have come up with an ingenious way of fighting back against those horrible “anti-homeless spikes” in London.
The spikes are installed by shops or local councils around the UK to prevent homeless people from sleeping in an area, but when a similar set of spikes popped up in Shoreditch, east London, a group of artists decided to turn them into a bed.
The group ‘Better Than Spikes’ came together on Thursday to design the makeshift bed and mini-library (including free books for people to enjoy, provided they leave them for the next visitor) on Curtain Road in Shoreditch, with the intention of claiming back the streets.
Writing on their Tumblr page, the group who organised the protest ‘Space, Not Spikes’, said:
Living in a city, we bumble along from place to place in tightly martialed lines. We’re told where we can walk, where we can sit, where we are welcome but only if we spend money. Or have it. It makes us neurotic and engenders a deep sense of ‘otherness’ in anyone who chooses to or simply cannot buy in to what currently passes for society and leisure.
Anti-homeless spikes are part of that invention. Nothing says ‘keep out’ to a person more than rows of sharpened buttplugs laid out to stop people from enjoying or using public space.
Space, Not Spikes came from the anger of public/private space inequity. We chose the Curtain Road location because of its resonance with artists. Round the corner and down the road were the studios and spaces used by artists who couldn’t afford anywhere else to live and work.
This particular site is where the nightclub Plastic People used to live. It had a Vietnamese restaurant on top of it that vibrated on weekends. Now, we have spikes. Now, we’re looking at poor doors and architecture designed to keep the ‘right’ people in and the ‘wrong’ people out. Regardless of whether you own, rent or even have a home, the streets are ours.
What a great idea! Well done to Better Than Spikes for living up to their name and making the streets of London better and friendlier.