THE RIVERS OF THE UNITED States have a certain lore and mystique within American culture. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these roaring waterways were home to thousands. Entire communities existed on or near the water in self-made houseboats. The history of these communities has been explored briefly in river memoirs such as Harlan Hubbard’s Shantyboat Journal, but hasn’t been thoroughly examined in a present-day context. That is, until a modern shantyboat came bobbing down the Mississippi in the summer of 2014.
Activists and squatters have moved in to a derelict Romford pub, The Bitter End, with the aim of transforming it into an independent environmental and cultural space. In April, photographer Ed Gold spent three weeks living alongside them, documenting their lives as they worked to regenerate the building into the newly named The Better End.
OK so after a !title nudge from Matt I've decided to stop being lazy and get some content up about living and travelling the streets in England. I might do a big Q&A thing wit a couple of friends in a video if we have enough interest sooooo is there anything you wanna know? Hit me with your questions and I'll try and get a decent response of this bunch of wasters wit me!
Ladies, gentlemen and people who are neither or both, the end of the year is near so i thought it could be a good opportunity to reflect on the past year and tell you a little (very long) story. On the first of july 2017, my friend Kim texted me: "Hey, wanna go to Belgium? I have friends that are going with their van and they can give us a ride. Plus, my friend Eliot has a squat in Brussels so we'll have a place to crash for as long as we want."
I've lived in squats for the past two years. It's a way of living thats always been dear to my heart and has brought me a lot of friendships and experiences. I lived in one particular squat for almost a year, so last march I decided it was time to move. By foot. It took me a week. A lot of things happened along the way. I camped in the fields in the middle of nowhere, so I spent a lot of time soaking in the sun (as pictured here), writing about my days, and taking polaroids to send to my friends as postcards.
Squatting is the act of making use of disused and abandoned property. It allows people who cannot otherwise afford to rent or purchase a house or building to put an empty one to productive use. Because it is wasteful and obscene for thousands of properties to lie empty when there are people homeless or struggling to pay rent. Because Office of Housing waiting lists are too long. Because you are sick of dealing with nosy landlords who always hassle you when you are late with rent, but have no problem taking weeks or months or years to do simple repairs. Because no one should get rich by forcing others to pay for the simple necessity of shelter. Because you want some control over your living and working space. Because housing is a basic human right and sometimes you have to take action to assert your rights.
“I humbly invite you to take a stroll through my life in the squatter community of the Lower East Side (LES) in the 1990s,” writes Ash Thayer, whose book, Kill City, focuses on New York City squatters, harking back to another age, when city’s were not being made overly safe, libraries were valued and open – those arcane places where you could sit indoors for free without paying money and read – when the welfare state was not run on grandiose corporate business lines, when being young, hedonistic and utterly lacking in ambition were joyous and the city-centre living was open to all. It’s a halcyon vision of full-figured youth and fun, albeit one obscured by voracious rats and the occasional nutter, and for freezing cold months at a time shrouded in clouds of visible breath.
With this photo documentary, I intend to show how alternative places and squats are necessary in a society that isn't welcoming towards non-wealthy visitors. The story focuses on two people that decided to travel through Norway. With this I hope to serve a small contribution to the memory of Brakkebygrenda, a place that not only saved my friend and I from a harsh winter, but also kept us around so that we could experience Norway in a way that wouldn't have been possible without such a community.
The story of Freetown Christiania does, in some ways, seem like a fairy tale… a druggy, twisted, modern-day fairy tale at that, but a fairy tale nonetheless. Free town Christiania is a place unto itself. It has its own unique currency, flag, system of transport, rules and government, post office, and restaurants and stores. Christiania occupies some of the most valuable real estate in Copenhagen, but the residents of this micronation recently bought all 85 acres of land from the Danish government through collective shares owned by the community as a whole. They paid €13 million for it, although the entire package of land is estimated to be worth around €166 million.
Almost two years ago, the photographer Won Kim was back-packing across Japan and passed through Arakawa-ku, a ward in northeastern Tokyo. There he ran into a tiny hotel which was set in one of the larger buildings that lined the street, with no signboards to guide you there, it was almost hidden away. Kim immediately fell in love with the unusual vibes of the establishment, which was like a home to people from all over the world, unlike the typical homogenous societies in Japan – he was determined to revisit this space.
South African based documentary photographer Corinna Kern finds inspiration in those who live on the fringes of society. By getting to know different kinds of people and immersing herself in their lives, she’s able to engage with the world in a special way. For her long-term project, A Place Called Home, Kern became part of the London squatting community for several months. Through her images, she explores the idea that home is more of a feeling than a physical space.
Yesterday, the only actual squat in Vienna, the notorious Pizzeria Anarchia was evicted. It took 1,700 policemen, 12 hours, one tank and a water cannon to get 31 squatters to move their shit. Pizzeria Anarchia might be no more, but the story of its downfall is an embarrassment to local police and an example of shameless realtors' tactics winning over the little man.
Despite having heard countless stories and read many books about often wonderful squatting scenes in Europe and elsewhere, the majority of squatted buildings I've lived at in the United States have been hideouts. Only a few have been overt campaigns that were welcomed by the community. The rest of the time it's mostly just been a bunch of punks trying to find shelter somewhere they won't get harassed by cops. So when I was invited to the Church of Carl Sagan, I was excited to see another real life example of anarchist philosophy along the lines of what I'd heard of and read about in other countries.
East Jesus lies on the outer edge of Slab City, which itself is a squatter town near Niland, a town in the Salton sea region of southern California. Started by Charles Russell in 2006 as an artist retreat, it’s a place for those that want to escape the world for a while, create amazing art in the desert, and live in a place where they're free to do and act as they please.