In the past few years, central London has witnessed the rise of "anti-homeless spikes", rows of small steel protrusions placed in doorways to make them too uncomfortable for rough sleepers to bed down in for the night. This phenomenon has coincided with a massive increase in homelessness in the UK capital.
The spikes below are at the site of the legendary Plastic People nightclub in Shoreditch, which closed its doors in early 2015 after 20 years of championing underground music.
They are not very comfortable, but then that's the point
Recently some local artists (and friends of Little Atoms) decided to make something beautiful out of something ugly, because that's what artists do. Or, to put it in their words: "A bunch of idiots went out of an eve to address the issue of anti-homeless spikes in public/private space by setting up a small public library and a very comfortable seating and sleeping area in London's Hoxton."
First, make sure you've got your measurements right
Solid workmanship is a given
Then the installation
Note the hi-vis jackets. Artistic statements on the cruelties of city life are important, but so is health and safety
The sofa came with a mini library of books on architecture and urban planning.
People were invited to have sit and read.
Good work comrades!
"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 [in Shoreditch] 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."
Find out more at BetterThanSpikes.tumblr.com
[All images Immo Klink/Marco Godoy license CC BY-ND]