Space Hijackers

The Space Hijackers is a group originating in the United Kingdom that defines itself as "an international band of anarchitects who battle to save our streets, towns and cities from the evils of urban planners, architects, multinationals and other hoodlums". "Time Out" have described the group as "an inventive and subversive group of London ‘Anarchitects’ who specialise in reclaiming public spaces – usually without permission."cite web |url=http://www.timeout.com/london/features/1975/12.html |title=London's secret scenes |accessdate=2007-10-11 |pages=12 |work=Features |publisher=Time Out]

The groups activities have included "guerrilla benching" [Sawyer, Patrick. "Guerilla gardeners stage a sit-down protest", "Evening Standard", 2007-04-04. Accessed 2008-01-10.] — restoring benches that had been recently removed and bolting them to the ground — organising a midnight game of cricket in the centre of the City of London financial district and most recently satirising the glossy architects' drawings that are displayed on the perimeter of luxury apartments by depicting children’s playgrounds and other projects they believe to be actually desirable. The purpose of many of the groups activities is to cause people to see the oft-taken for granted role which corporations play in society in a different light.cite web |url=http://www.newstatesman.com/200206170013 |title=How to beat the adman at his own game |accessdate=2007-10-11 |last=Hari |first=Johann |authorlink=Johann Hari |date=2002-06-22 |work=World Affairs |publisher="New Statesman"]

Purpose

epigraph
quote =Space Hijacking is mental graffiti, designed to change how the space is perceived and take some of the power away from the people who own or design the space.
cite =Space Hijacker Agent Bristly Pioneercite journal |last=Albert |first=Saul |year=2002 |month=March |title=Graffitiing the Brainspace |journal=Mute Magazine |accessdate= 2007-10-11 ]

The Space Hijackers exist mainly to attempt to change the public's perception of spaces they regularly use, mainly by staging unexpected events. Their explicit objective is "to effect and change the physical space of architecture", and, eschewing violent protest and other forms of transparent direct action, their methods aim "to invade and re-brand corporate space".cite book | last = Richardson | first = Joanne | title = Anarchitexts | publisher = Autonomedia | location = Brooklyn | year = 2004 | isbn = 9781570271427 ] They believe that the use of physical space is becoming more and more politicised and thus in order to break apart from that politicisation, they stage events that are typically 'unusual' for that particular space, 'hijacking' it and hoping to change people's perception of the use of that space forever. They believe that increasing politicisation usually leads to increased subordination and discrimination and other forms of domination and control and so Space Hijackers claim to seek to break down and deconstruct society's notions of space. They seek to effect this by attempting to undermine the authority of the owners "text", confusing and re-contextualising it and thereby making apparent the possibility of an alternative future. Protests tend not to be violent and there is usually a good sense of fun involved with Hijacker projects. Protest strategy includes getting passers-by involved, baffling police who often don't really know what to think, or don't realise exactly what's happening.

The Space Hijackers have numerous contacts with other groups, and involve themselves with all sorts, including but not limited to Critical Mass, Indymedia, the BBC, [http://www.rhythmsofresistance.co.uk/ Rhythms of Resistance] samba band, free media collective [http://www.iconscious.co.uk/ iconscious] and evoLhypergrapHyCx. The Hijackers managed to pull several of these groups together in Anarchitecture Week 2005, a week of anti-building related activities in response to, and hosted at the same time as Architecture Week.

Projects

Formed in 1999, their first major action was the Circle Line Party - a party on London Underground's Circle Line which attracted around 150 people armed with sound systems, disco lights and bars all disguised as luggage.cite journal |last=Aitch |first=Iain |year=2001 |month=August |title=Mind The Reality Gap |journal=Bizarre |issue=49 |accessdate= 2007-10-11 ] Quote box
quote ="We're a bunch of fuck-wits, really. So if we can do this, then you can."
source =–Agent Robin, quoted in "Red Pepper", May 2004 edition. [" [http://www.redpepper.org.uk/article203.html# Creative occupation ] ", "Red Pepper", May 2004. Retrieved 2008-01-10]
width =20%
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Quote box
quote ="If you don't look like your average protester, there's less of a barrier to break down."
source =–Agent Bristly Pioneer, quoted in "The Observer ", Jan 2008 edition. [" [http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,2243558,00.html ] ", "The Observer ", Jan 2008 . ]
width =20%
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Projects of the Space Hijackers have included the following:

*Miniature City Farms
*Subliminal Message Prostitute Cards
*Experimental Pedestrian Schemes
*Zapatista Army of National Liberation protestscite journal |year=2001 |month=10 |title=Mental Environment Index |journal=Adbusters |issue=38 |url= |accessdate= 2007-10-11 ]
*Starbucks Musical Chairs
*Spoof Planning Permission Applications ["Computer Arts Projects" Issue 99. Accessed 2008-01-10.]
*Pirate Occupations Of Islands
*Mobile Street Discos
*A Second and Third Circle Line Party
*Inner-City Midnight Cricket
* [http://www.iconscious.co.uk/film/mayday05/ Mayday Anarchists vs Members of Parliament Cricket]
*"arms dealing" at the DSEI arms fair
*Staging Half Price Sales in numerous stores around Oxford & Regent Street
*Using a [http://www.iconscious.co.uk/film/mayday05/challenge.htm parking meter space as a rented office]
*Supporting Nike with banners including "Sweatshops ROCK!" at their sponsored events
*Urban letterboxing
*Driving a tank into the DSEi arms fair in East London
*Running a 'professional protest stall' on the London Police march for more pay, with advice for the police on their rights as protesters
*Replacing the nipples 'stolen' from the Starbucks' mermaid on their shop fronts

Citations

External links

* [http://www.spacehijackers.org Space Hijackers]
* [http://web.archive.org/web/20041129182713/http://sweatlondon.com/ Sweat London] (archived copy), used for the pro-Nike campaign
* [http://www.anarchitectureweek.co.uk Anarchitecture Week]


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