Common Enemies by Julika Gittner, Lorraine Beck
Current regeneration agendas aim to ‘design out’ so called anti-social activities in order to create cohesive communities. A substantial amount of public money is spent on eradicating physical elements that allow the assumed ‘common enemy’ of deviant behaviour. This leads to the exclusion of large parts of society such as teenagers who are seen as disrupting communities through anti-social acts. The project aims to question the assumed meaning of the term ‘common’ and proposes that a continuous conflict over the appropriate use of public space holds the potential to polarise and strengthen social groups.
The proposal consists of dedicating a ‘vandalised’ wall as a community mural and the design of a public space for the enactment of so-called ‘social’ as well as ‘anti-social’ behaviour on green space of the Brayards Estate in Peckham, London.
Recognising the inscriptions that have accumulated over decades on the walls as a collaborative creative effort akin to a community mural by installing a plaque aims to raise the question of who is allowed to participate in a ‘community’. The plaque would be become a temporary feature in the natural cycle of being graffitied or painted over by anonymous contributors or the council’s anti-graffiti team.
The proposed design for a public stage/playground would be sustained through a combination of conflicting efforts by the residents association BETRA with the help of Southwark Council (who are the legal owners of it) and the people who use/ abuse it. This process of maintenance versus vandalism is already a reality on the estate and the project would form a stage to visibly display this ongoing struggle over territory between different groups.
Julika Gittner works an artist and as an architect. She has designed the two parts of the project from an initial process of research that was aided by several employees of Southwark Council.
Lorraine Beck is the head of the Brayards Estate’s BETRA residents association. She has acted as a consultant for the research and design of the proposal.