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"Nothing says "keep out” to a person more than rows of sharpened buttplugs laid out to stop people from enjoying or using public space." These are the words of Better Than Spikes, a group of young artists who have expressed their outrage at anti-homeless spikes on Tumblr – specifically, the latest outcrop outside former nightclub Plastic People in Shoreditch London.
Through the simple act of sticking a soft comfy mattress on top of the spikes they have diffused an act of meanness and hostility. The bed and bookcase, stocked for passing occupants, instead engender kindness, warmth and inclusion.
The group are opposed to the gentrification of an area that used to be synonymous with budding but not especially affluent young artists. They are angered by the injustice surrounding the control of space in our cities. They 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.
"Now, we’re looking at poor doors and architecture designed to keep them 'right’ people in and the 'wrong’ people out. Regardless of whether you own, rent or even have a home, the streets are ours.
"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."
Pictures and videos can be found at http://betterthanspikes.tumblr.com